Rob Manfred is probably the most hated commissioner in all of sports (that’s really saying something), but now, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, he’s preparing to push through COVID next season. Meaning that fans, players, and owners should expect a full 162-game season and an “on-time” Spring Training. Praise the Lord.
Commissioner Manfred is many things, but a liar is not one of them. The guy has proven his emphasis is to maximize profits (as it should be), so that is encouraging if you actually like baseball.
Spring Training begins Feb. 17th and not one team has started selling tickets to those games. Major League Baseball and the union are smack dab in the middle of negotiations, as we speak to figure out all these details:
When teams start Spring Training, number of games, travel, safety protocols, full-time DH’s, and playoff expansion. It’s messy, but all sides have reason to get a deal done that includes a normal 162-game season. Actually sad that we have to find reasons why the commissioner of a sport would benefit from getting a deal done, rather than trusting him to do what’s best for the sport.
Last week, the union made a statement to The Athletic that shows the players expect a full season as well:
“While there will continue to be challenges, out players have proven they can safely play a season under difficult circumstances, as have the other sports.”
If the NBA could fire up a season that travels every other day, why wouldn’t baseball, who’s teams travel every four or five days, be able to operate? Common sense says baseball will do just fine, so that explains Manfred’s optimism.
Expect baseball (…lots of baseball)
Everyone has their butt in the pot, so expectation is that a deal gets done. Barring anyone hating baseball from within, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where the two sides can’t work this out.