White Sox

White Sox

There has been plenty of talk of when and how Major League Baseball will play the 2020 season. While there are still no answers, commissioner Rob Manfred wants baseball to be part of the healing process when it does return.

Manfred appeared on Fox Business on Tuesday morning and talked to Maria Bartiromo about the state of baseball during the pandemic.

There were reports of a potential plan for the MLB season to start up as early as May or June entirely in Arizona. When asked about that, Manfred said nothing made it past the idea phase.

RELATED: MLB, MLBPA discuss playing entire 2020 season in Arizona without fans, report says

“The only real plan that we have is that baseball is not going to return until the public health situation has improved to the point that we’re comfortable that we can play games in a manner that’s safe for players, our employees, our fans, and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely,” Manfred said. “Right now, it’s largely a waiting game.”

Manfred admitted the league has been “engaged in contingency planning.” While MLB has committed to paying league employees through May 31, senior staff, including Manfred, are taking pay cuts for 2020.

He said 40% of local revenue for teams is “gate and gate related” and admitted that it's all at risk for 2020 if baseball returns without fans in stadiums.

“We have a variety of contingency plans that we have talked about and worked on,” Manfred said. “Plans may be a strong word; ideas may be a better word. But all of them are designed to address limitations that may exist when businesses restart. Travel limitations, limitations on mass gatherings that may still exist. We’ve thought about ways to try to make baseball available to all the fans across the United States in the face of those restrictions. So from our perspective, we don’t have any plan. We have lots of ideas. What ideas come to fruition will depend on what the restrictions are, what the public health situation is. But we are intent on the idea of trying to make baseball part of the recovery, the economic recovery, and sort of a milestone on the return to normalcy.”

After 9/11, President George W. Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series became a symbolic moment of the nation's recovery. Perhaps Manfred is hoping for something similar in the coming months.

 
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