On the eve of what would have been baseball's Opening Day, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred offered a bit of an update on where things stand given the coronavirus outbreak.
SNY's Andy Martino reported earlier on Wednesday that MLB is determined to salvage some sort of baseball in 2020, and Manfred echoed those sentiments in an interview on Wednesday evening.
Appearing as a guest on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, Manfred was asked about what the timeline might be in terms of getting baseball back into action, and while there's still so much up in the air concerning the current coronavirus outbreak, Manfred said he was hopeful that the month of May could see the game back on its feet.
"My optimistic outlook is that at some point in May we'll be gearing back up," said Manfred. "We'll have to make a determination depending on what the precise date is as to how much of a preparation period we need."
Whenever Major League Baseball does return, what exactly will the schedule look like? How will the postseason format change? Is there a set number of regular season games that the league would need to feel comfortable with the season's results?
Manfred addressed these questions as well.
"I think we need to have a regular season with a credible number of games," Manfred said. "I think we should have a postseason format the focuses on providing the most possible entertaining product to our fans at a very difficult time in our history, and overall I think our goal is to play as many baseball games as we can given the limitations associated with the public health concerns.
"I think the exact number that we see as reasonable is going to depend on when we get the go-ahead to play. I don't have some absolute number in my mind that a make or break. I think we have to evaluate the situation. I also think that we need to be creative in terms of what the schedule looks like, what the postseason format looks like. Obviously, our fans love the 162-game season and the postseason format that we have. We're probably not going to be able to do that this year. I think that's clear, and it does give us an opportunity to do some different things, to experiment and to make sure that we provide as many games as possible and as entertaining a product as possible."
Per Martino's earlier report, a "significantly shortened season and expanded postseason" are both possibilities, and "perhaps likelihoods," with Martino also noting that the primary thing to understand is that while MLB and the Players Association are discussing these ideas, they are guessing along with the rest of the world about when things may return to a level of normalcy.