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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says baseball is still being played after reports of possible shutdown

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says baseball is still being played after reports of possible shutdown

Just over a week into the 2020 season, Major League Baseball faces a turning point.

Playing through the coronavirus pandemic was always going to be a challenge, but recent outbreaks on multiple teams have led to the postponement of numerous games and have many questions whether the campaign should continue on. Though a recent report suggested commissioner Rob Manfred was considering halting the season, he somewhat dispelled that notion on Saturday.

“We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now," Manfred said to ESPN's Karl Ravech. "We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”

Manfred stating that "there is no reason to quit now" is quite interesting when one evaluates the current landscape of baseball. 

As of now, the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals are the two teams that have the most positive cases over the last week. An outbreak in Miami that had 15 players test positive forced the team to pause the season and postpone games with the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. It also forced the Philadelphia Phillies, who played the Marlins on opening weekend, to delay games with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

RELATED: JUAN SOTO RETURNS TO NATIONALS AFTER COVID-19 TESTS

The Cardinals have had multiple staff members and a player test positive for coronavirus since Friday, forcing the first two games of a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers to be postponed. In just about one week of play, eight teams have not been able to play due to the virus.

Manfred noted that he feels the players need to do better, which could relate to the report that the Marlins did not follow proper health and safety protocols. Players should be working hard to remain safe, but still, it's the league's responsibility to put its players in a safe situation and set up the necessary procedures to contain and eliminate an outbreak. By having teams travel and not creating a bubble like the NBA and NHL, those tasks become more challenging.

With the virus still as prevalent as ever throughout the country, the problem is not going away. Manfred seems adamant in his statement to Ravech that baseball will continue on despite the bumps in the road. But unless things drastically change, positive tests will keep coming and "manageable" may no longer be the word used to describe the situation. 

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Report: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred warns season could be shut down

Report: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred warns season could be shut down

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is considering shutting down the 2020 season if the sport does not do a better job of managing coronavirus, according to an ESPN report.

Manfred reached out to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark on Friday, according to ESPN, to relay his concern following an 18-player outbreak among the Miami Marlins plus two positive tests by St. Louis Cardinals players on Friday, causing yet another game postponement.

Fifteen games were postponed in the first week of the season because of coronavirus-related problems. The Nationals are not playing this weekend because they were scheduled to go to Miami to play the Marlins. They voted against traveling to the state of Florida before Manfred decided the Marlins would be sidelined until at least Sunday. “Given the current circumstances, MLB believes that it is most prudent to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and planning their Baseball Operations for a resumption early next week,” the league said in a statement.

RELATED: DEROSA ON POSTPONEMENTS: 'PLAYERS ARE GONNA GET SO FRUSTRATED' 

Questions about whether players are stringently following on- and off-field protocol have surfaced since the outbreak among the Marlins. The Nationals, for one, have not had to go on the road yet -- where it appears the most likely prospect for a protocol breach lurks.

The league is just a week into its restart and flooded with problems. Manfred does hold the authority to shut down the season he invoked per the March 26 agreement between the league and union. Major League Baseball appears more on track for that outcome than it does to make it through another nine weeks of regular-season play.

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says season would be 60 games, 'no matter how negotiations went'

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says season would be 60 games, 'no matter how negotiations went'

Baseball is roughly three weeks away from returning to our lives and as everyone involved gears up for a 60-game sprint, the fallout from the league's failed negotiations continues. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred recently went on The Dan Patrick show to discuss the upcoming season as well as the challenges that came from a process that included so many offers and counteroffers. In one answer, he revealed the end result was inevitable. 

"The reality is, we weren't going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went or any other factor," Manfred said. "60 games is the outside of the envelope given the realities of the virus."

Considering negotiations went on for a grueling three months, these comments should make baseball fans feel terrific. They serve as another example at just how far apart the two sides were on a deal to resume play. 

"It's the calendar," he said. "We're playing 60 games in 63 days right now. I don't see given the reality of the health situation over the past few weeks, how we were going to get going any faster than the calendar we're on right now no matter what the state of those negotiations were."

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It's hard to ignore the players' refusal to accept further pay-cuts beyond their prorated salaries based on the number of games played as a potential factor in the shorter schedule. The union's offers routinely included schedules around 80-100 games, while the owners reportedly went as low as 50 games at one point during the talks. 

However, due to the expected resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, it became paramount to get the season completed as soon as possible. Neither side could come to an agreement, so Manfred had to impose a 60-game season. 

RELATED: SCHERZER TALKS 'UGLY' NEGOTIATIONS WITH MLB

"We did get a suboptimal result from the negotiations in some ways," he said. "The fans aren't going to get an expanded postseason, which I think would've been good with the shortened season, and the players left some real money on the table. They left $25 million worth of playoff pools, $33 million worth of salary advancement, but that's what happens when you have a negotiation that instead of being collaborative, gets into a conflict situation." 

Supposedly the bright side in all this is we get baseball back, even if it's in a short season. The bad news? The relationship between the owners and players doesn't appear to be strong as we approach and new CBA in 2021.

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