Rob Manfred Still Hopeful for Baseball in 2020


While the chances of an actual baseball season seem to be grim with each passing day, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred still remains optimistic that some type of campaign will be orchestrated this year.

“I fully anticipate baseball will return this season,” Manfred said to reporters at a press conference on Monday.

Initially, the target dates for a new Opening Day were about as frequent as the target dates that the White House wanted to re-open the economy. However, both entities now realize that it’s much more prudent to chart the progress of COVID-19 and re-evaluate the data before any future dates are cemented.

Regardless, there have been several different season models proposed if the beginning of the 2020 campaign does indeed come to fruition. One scenario has teams playing an abbreviated season, perhaps lasting past Thanksgiving and into the winter months, utilizing neutral locations in warmer climates as sites for games.

Along those same lines, another idea is to split all 30 teams into their respective spring training leagues, setting up a potential season based out of Arizona and Florida. Conceivably, those games would be played without spectators.

According to some reports, Texas is also being considered, as it features two major league ballparks—the Astros’ Minute Maid Park and the Rangers’ soon-to-open Globe Life Field. Both facilities include retractable roofs, which could be important when considering the Texas heat and the need to guard against potential rainouts.

Most states are still under stay-at-home orders, some of which are set to expire April 30. Whether those orders are extended into May could be the determining factor in how MLB proceeds.

Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, plans to open nail salons, massage therapies, bowling alleys and gyms in his state on Friday. Restaurants and movie theaters are slated come back on line statewide next Monday. If other states follow suit, the nation could ease into recovery sooner than many expected.

Notwithstanding, Georgia has faced public scrutiny for going against the grain of the advice from doctors and the scientific community.

As reported by Jeff Todd at MLBTR, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Dr. Anthony Fauci contemplated a scenario in which there could possibly be some in-person attendance at MLB games in 2020. Labeling in-person attendance “conceivable,” Fauci nevertheless cautioned that it’s likelier the game will only return to our screens in the near-term. Ultimately, he said, “it’s gonna be the virus that determines what the timetable is.”

Anyway, players like Clayton Kershaw have expressed displeasure at a kamikaze-type of season in the desert, where players would be away from their families for months at a time.

“We all want to play baseball. I get that. I want to play baseball, too,” Kershaw said recently. “But there is something about being in the big leagues and you can’t compromise that. Playing in spring training stadiums and quarantining for months without your family and certain things like that, I don’t think that’s doable if you’re talking about doing it for four to five months.”

Mike Trout of the Angels, said last week that the Arizona plan has a lot of “red flags,” while also indicating there’s no chance that he would miss the birth of his first child.

Consequently, MLB would need to decide whether it can have families of the players stay with them or make those plans only temporary to start the season before transitioning into another phase.

What’s more, with no revenue from ticket sales, the MLB and MLB Players Association would have to come to some type of agreement on compensation.

Either way, both the teams and the league are preparing to take a huge hit with regards to revenue this year. At this stage of the game, I’m beginning to think that a season is very far out of reach. Thousands of businesses around the country have suffered drastic consequences over the past few months and some could be facing extended closures. The MLB is no exception.

Whatever happens, the health and safety of the players, the coaching staffs and other team employees need to be at the forefront of any proposed game plan.


31 thoughts on “Rob Manfred Still Hopeful for Baseball in 2020

  1. Dennis, I finished the book, “They Bled Blue”. Not a bad book considerating that it was written by a Giants fan! Jason Turbow! Hopefully the shortened 81 season foreshadows this year and we get another championship. I really enjoyed the early history of the Dodger move to LA and early Tommy Lasorda- what a character. What a year 81 was. Not exactly great team chemistry like the 20 Dodgers. Fernandomania. I was in the left field bleachers in September of 80 when he made his Dodger stadium debut. I really enjoyed reminiscing about all the characters on that team. And Turbow got a lot of props from players on the team about the book. That team and the 88 team not nearly as talented as our present team the last couple of years but somehow, someway they got it done. Hopefully this shortened season will be our year! We are the Kings of the shortened seasons! Thanks again Dennis

    1. You’re welcome. I just talked to Jason on the phone the other week. Dude’s totally into sabermetrics these days, believe it or not. If you are so inclined, please fell free to pass the book along to another Dodger fan. 🙂

  2. 81, great year. Hopefully we get some baseball this year. The Korean league is set to begin play on May 5th. Japan is thinking more like June. One of the characters on that 81 team was Jay Johnstone. When I sang the anthem in 81, he was the player they had take a picture with me. I still have it. Johnstone once was in line in full uniform at the concession stand at Dodger Stadium buying Dodger dogs! He also used to dress up in a #2 uni that said Lasagna on the back and act like Tommy. But his all time greatest feat, and this is a fact, not a story, he may be the only player in baseball history to hit a PH HR after dragging the infield. He, Ruess, and another player thought it would be a hoot to don the grounds keepers hats and shirts and drag the infield after the 5th inning. Lasorda was pretty much unaware of what was going on until he noticed Ruess’s long blonde hair sticking out from under the cap, and he knew the entire ground crew were Hispanic. Anyway, they all ran down the tunnel to get their uni’s back on and Lasorda was screaming for Johnstone to grab a bat and hit. Jay came back to the dugout, still tucking in his jersey and grabbed a bat. He went to the plate, and I am not sure which pitch he hit, but he hit the homer, rounded the bases, came in the dugout, and Lasorda did not say a word to him. Probably totally stunned. Johnstone also wrote a book about some of the pranks he pulled when he was a player. He sat in Lasorda’s birthday cake, bare butt…..during spring training, he locked Lasorda in his office. He co authored 3 books, Temporary Insanity, Over The Edge, and Some of My Best Friends are Crazy. Johnstone also hit a pinch hit 2 run HR in game 4 of the 81 series that started the Dodgers on a comeback from a 6-3 deficit to win 8-7, tie the series at 2. Yep, quite a character.

    1. Jay Johnstone was a real treasure. He had fun when he came to the ballpark and it was contagious. Today, he’d probably be considered a distraction and shipped off somewhere. It’s a game guys. Have fun playing it!

      1. He had a TV show for a while that was on Saturday mornings before the game of the week. He would pull pranks on players and most of them were hilarious. When he hit the HR, he and Ruess were being fined by Tommy for being out of uniform. But he stunned Tommy into silence. He also once jumped out of a cab, in full uniform, in a traffic jam on the Bay Bridge and began running towards the exit. What is forgotten a lot is that he was a pretty good player.

      2. I got Johnstone’s autograph in 1976 at a Dodgers vs. Phillies game at the old Veteran’s Stadium. My grandfather had seats right beside the Phila dugout, so I was unable to get close to any Los Angeles players. On that same day, Larry Bowa also signed a ball for me.

      3. He played for quite a few teams but probably had his best run with the Phils. Actually, although I loved having him here as a Dodger, I always think of him as an Angel.

      4. He was pretty much the fourth outfielder in Phila, but he still played a lot. Their prime guys were Luzinski in left, Maddox in center and Bake McBride in right.

      5. Haven’t thought about Luzinski or Maddox in years. I remember seeing Maddox make a couple of sensational catches although I don’t remember if they were with the Phils or the Giants. I didn’t even remember McBride played with the Phillies. I always think of him in a Cardinal uni.

      6. At some point, probably much sooner than later, Mr. Harper is going to be sorry he signed there. I know he was trying to make a point, but to not even have an opt out on a contract of that length was not smart.

      7. You’d say that in year one or two, but by year 4 or 5 when they start booing you for whatever reason, you’d think “maybe I should have taken a few million less and played in a friendlier place”. After all, how much money can a person spend in one lifetime.

  3. Bake McBride, that is a blast from the past. I remember going to a Phillies-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium back when the Phils had those ugly blue and maroon uni’s. Watched that bunch take batting practice and it was scary. Luzinski and Schmidt hitting bombs way up in the left field pavillion. Dodgers did not have any one on that team that had that kind of power. Oh, they had guys who hit homers, but not that far. New pic is me and Jay the night I sang the anthem.

      1. The beard? Actually I got the nick name while I was in the army. When I was stationed in Germany. We slept in the rec hall on our tac site and when I would sleep real soundly the guys said I snored like a bear, and it stuck. True story.

  4. Johnstone played 20 years in the majors. .267 hitter. Over his career he only made 61 errors. Had a .979 fielding average. 102 career homers. Dodgers actually re-signed him in 1985, his last year. Kept the clubhouse pretty loose.

  5. That’s a great photo bear. Thanks for sharing it. Philly, that’s my hometown that your trashing there. Tho the nurses did boo my mom when I was born!

    1. Are you sure they weren’t booing you Rich? 🙂
      I’ve never been to Philly but would like to visit one of these days. I feel as though every city has its own personality and I’m sure Philadelphia has lots to recommend it. I just won’t wear my Dodger hat when I visit.

    2. Rich, I think I told you previously, but I grew up in Lancaster County. I actually lived in South Phila down on 6th Street for five years when I was in my early twenties. Definitely a great city as far as activities go for a young man of that age.

  6. The only thing I remember about Philly is that one time I was making a pick up there, and did not have decent directions to the facility. Somehow I got stuck downtown in my tractor trailer with a 48 ft reefer unit, and a cop had to help me find a road I could turn onto and get out from under the elevated RR tracks. He even stopped traffic, and gave me the right directions to the warehouse.

  7. I remember Dennis. I was born in Philly but moved when I was two. I grew up in Levittown Pa. Grew up as a big Phillies fan. Johnny Callison, Richie Allen, Jim Bunning, Chris Short, Bobby Wine, and Clay Dalrymple. Moved to California as a teenager after my dad passed away. I took my family back about 5 years ago and had a great time. Loved the Reading Market and all the history the city has to offer. We all thought Jim’s had the best cheesesteaks. Fun times!

    1. Did ya go stand in front of Rocky’s statue? Probably the only city where one of the main attractions is the statue of a fictional character. Good movie though. I think Stallone has made as much money off of that movie and it’s many sequels as anybody ever has. 6 Rocky movies and 2 Creed movies. Red Sox punishment came down today, even lighter than the Astro’s. Only person besides Cora to get suspended was their video coordinator. And there was no time added to Cora’s suspension. They lost only 1 draft pick.

  8. One of my dream trips is to go to New England and tour all of the pertinent sites where our country was born. Independence Hall in Philly is high on my list, as is the Liberty Bell. Boston has some historic sites as well, and I would like to go back to DC sometime too. Love history. Gettysburg is high on that list. I have been to 3 Civil War battlefields, Vicksburg, Petersburg and Cold Harbor. I also went to the Little Big Horn. That was freaky. It is the only place where when I was waling around, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up, and it was really a eerie feeling. Almost like I had been there when it happened.

  9. Baseball has started in S. Korea. Umps are wearing masks, no fans, and pre season games have begun. Season is set to start there on May the 5th. Wow. At least baseball in some form will soon be happening.

  10. ESPN tried to broker a deal with the KBO, but they did not want to pay them, and they wanted it to be month by month. Obviously the KBO said nada!

    1. C’mon Bear, let’s be accurate here. KBO said whatever the Korean word for “nada” is.

      1. Okie dokey, even though I served over there, I cannot remember what the word for no was. We knew all the vulgar phrases though as GI’s are prone to do. Although # 1 was number Korean…

      2. It’s “ani”.
        I’m either fluent in Korean or I just googled it. You decide.

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