Manfred Says 60+ Games Was Never Likely Given Course Of Virus
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league's reality was that it was not "going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiation with the players went or any other factor," because 60 games is the "outside of the envelop given the realities of the virus." Manfred, appearing Wednesday on "The Dan Patrick Show," said, "This is the one thing we come back to every single day. We’re trying to manage something that has proven to be unpredictable and unmanageable. I know it hasn’t looked particularly pretty in spots. But having said that, if we can pull off this 60-game season, I think it was the best we were going to do for our fans given the course of the virus.” Manfred said he does not 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." Manfred noted one "sub-optimal result" from the negotiations is that the fans "aren’t going to get an expanded postseason, which would have been good with this shortened season." But that is "what happens when you have a negotiation that, instead of being collaborative, gets into a conflict situation."
NO BIG CHANGES COMING TO SEASON LENGTH: Manfred said MLB likely wouldn't see a significantly shortened season in future years, noting he has "always been open to the idea that within the historical bounds, which I see as 154 to 162 depending on what we were doing with playoff formats and whatever, that I would be open to that adjustment, but not a material adjustment." Manfred: "A big part our game and one of the biggest hurdles that we had to get over from a competitive perspective in terms of putting a 60-game season out there, there’s a huge competitive difference between 60-game spring and a 162-game marathon. It’s kind of like saying, ‘Would you be in favor of making the New York Marathon 13 miles.’ I think the answer is no" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 7/1).
NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH? YAHOO SPORTS' Mark Townsend wrote for something "so unpredictable, Manfred seemed pretty convinced that the coronavirus would only give MLB a 60-game window." The MLBPA was reportedly concerned that the owners were "stalling the negotiations to push back the start date." But despite his attempt to "wrap it around concerns and unknowns regarding the coronavirus," Manfred’s comments Wednesday will "do nothing to sway that notion." In fact, they are "more likely to convince more people MLB was never negotiating in good faith" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/1).