Pausing MLB season for Olympics would be difficult, commissioner says
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says pausing the regular season for MLB players to participate in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics would be difficult.
“Everyone appreciates the challenges associated with major league players playing in a tournament that is in the middle of our season,” Manfred said before Friday’s World Series opener. “We’re an everyday game. We’re kind of big on the integrity of that regular season. It’s an important thing for us.”
Baseball returns to the Olympic program in 2028 after previously being contested as a medal sport from 1992 through 2008 and again in Tokyo.
Under recent reforms, an Olympic host can propose adding new sports strictly for their edition of the Games. LA 2028 proposed several sports, including baseball for men and softball for women. All were approved by the IOC, but so far none are on the Olympic program beyond 2028.
In Tokyo, only players not on 26-man active MLB rosters and injured lists were eligible, and many clubs blocked top eligible prospects from heading to the tournament in Japan. Japan’s pro league did allow its players to participate, and Japan beat the U.S. in the gold medal game.
Casey Wasserman, the chairman of the Los Angeles Games organizers, also owns an agency that represents dozens of MLB players.
“Casey Wasserman has been supportive of getting baseball back in the Olympics, which we appreciate,” Manfred said. “We think it’s a great thing and we will continue to listen as to whether there’s some arrangement that could be worked out — I’m not saying one word about major league players — some arrangement that could be worked out to make it the best possible tournament.”