Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred says MLB could cancel season if coronavirus does not pass

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USATSI

Rob Manfred says MLB could cancel season if coronavirus does not pass

Could the entire MLB be season be in danger?

MLB would "have to accept that as a reality" if health experts did not deem the coronavirus pandemic contained enough for the baseball season to start, commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday night.

"I think that if in fact the situation with respect to the virus is such that it's not safe to resume play," Manfred told ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on "Sportscenter" on Wednesday night, "whether it's in alternate sites, empty stadiums, whatever it is, we have to accept that as a reality. It would be a tremendous hardship (to cancel the season). It would be a hardship for our fans, it'd be a hardship for our players and, frankly, it'd be a huge economic hardship for our owners.

"It would be a real tragedy, but the one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back. Whenever it's safe to play, we'll be back. Our fans will be back, our players will be back and we will be part of the recovery, healing in this country from this particular pandemic."

Opening Day was supposed to occur Thursday, but MLB most recently pushed back the start of the season until at least mid-May following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barring gatherings of 50-plus people. Numerous local and state governments, including California, have issued shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders since then in an effort to halt the coronavirus' spread and limit the impact on hospitals and public health systems.

COVID-19 cases in the United States continue to climb, with NBC News reporting confirming over 54,000 nationwide. Manfred said Wednesday he hoped for a regular season with a "credible" number of games, but MLB will first need approval to start the 2020 season before determining its length.

"Obviously our fans love a 162-game season and the postseason format that we have," Manfred told Van Pelt. "We're probably not gonna be able to do that this year. I think that's clear, and it does give us an opportunity to do some different things, to experiment and to make sure that we provide as many games as possible and as entertaining a product as possible."

[RELATED: Pence doesn't think shorter season cheapens World Series]

Manfred said MLB wants to play as many games as possible this season, while also considering "the limitations associated with the public-health concerns."

The decision on the season's length, then, largely is out of baseball's hands.

MLB teams donating $30 million to help ballpark workers during suspension

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AP

MLB teams donating $30 million to help ballpark workers during suspension

The shutdown of the sports world is going to be particularly hard on those who don't ever take the field, but Major League Baseball is taking a huge step to remedy that problem.

The commissioner's office announced Tuesday that MLB teams will each donate $1 million to employees who would otherwise go unpaid until games resume.

"Motivated by desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each club has committed $1 million," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement to ESPN. "The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities. The timing of these announcements will vary because of the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective-bargaining obligations in an effort to maximize the benefits realized by each group of employees.

"I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love."

Many of the part-time and seasonal employees -- ushers, security guards, concessions, etc. -- who work at Oracle Park also work at Chase Center and depend on those games to make ends meet. The Warriors had previously announced that ownership, players and coaches were donating a combined $1 million to a fund through the Warriors Community Foundation to assist Chase Center employees. 

[RELATED: Giants sign 16-year-old prospect compared to Tatis Jr.]

MLB is not expected to resume operations until May at the earliest, with a strong likelihood that the season is shortened. Most of the Giants have gone home already, with just a small group staying in Scottsdale to work out at the team facility there.

The Giants sent their minor leaguers home over the weekend and MLB is reportedly trying to figure out a way to financially support those players, who have not been paid since last August. 

Mike Fiers reveals he has received death threats amid Astros scandal

Mike Fiers reveals he has received death threats amid Astros scandal

Mike Fiers has been the center of the MLB offseason after he exposed the Astros for their participation in electronic sign-stealing back in 2017 during their World Series run.

However, as a result of blowing the whistle on Houston's wrongdoings, the A's pitcher has been subject to violent threats. But he says he's used to it.

“Whatever, I don’t care. I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate,” Fiers told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser on Thursday.

Fiers' comments come two days after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to the media in Scottsdale, Ariz. and stressed the fact he would work to ensure the safety of Fiers.

While Fiers could be subject to retaliation by the Astros, he is trying to tune it out. He is doing his best to avoid social media and prepare for the season. He told The Athletic on Wednesday that he doesn't want extra security.

But the A's right-hander knows he can't prepare for what's going to happen, if anything will. But he did tell Slusser that he is fully aware he was equally a part of that Astros team that cheated in 2017.

“I said from the beginning, ‘I’m not away from this. I was part of that team, I was one of those guys,’ ” he said. “Suspensions, fines -- I’m willing to take as much punishment as they do. If they ask me to (return the World Series ring), it’s not the end of the world.”

Those across the league have been open and honest in support of Fiers coming forward. Manfred himself said he did a service to the industry.

[RELATED: Fiers won't dwell on possible repercussions of Astros scandal]

But clearly, there still is a faction of fans, players, and former players who disagree.

Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said Thursday he had an issue with how Fiers revealed the allegations, saying that the A's pitcher looked like a "snitch" for how he handled it.

Regardless, Fiers is concentrating on what he needs to do to have a successful 2020 campaign, a season that is filled with promise for Oakland. 

Baseball has been the perfect distraction from it all.