Rob Manfred: MLB’s Full Season To Start On Time
Following last season’s financial disaster, the MLB is now in the middle of solving offseason issues. Teams are currently not allowed to operate in full capacity, salary caps are not yet finalized, and COVID-19 outbreaks within teams remain an. As such, fans believe that it’s possible that the new season might get delayed.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s words, however, contradicted the public’s conclusion. Addressing issues involving the new season, Manfred sent a memo to all 30 teams on Monday evening, preparing them for a full season that, according to him, will start on time.
“The Office of the Commissioner understands the need for clubs to plan for next season, but MLB’s policies ultimately will depend on the public health situation in the United States, which is difficult to predict this far in advance of the season. In particular, the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution rates is preventing our experts from making predictions about the spring and summer with specificity. As such, MLB’s guidance on fan attendance may change in the coming weeks as circumstances change, and may also be modified later as the season progresses and conditions improve,” the memo reads.
Based on what the memo says, it seems like the current situation is in favor of the players. The league’s side originally pushed for a shorter season since it would allow them to pay the players less than their full pay. But now that the MLBPA is fighting for the players’ salary cap, the MLB had to adjust its plan for the next season. The MLB doesn’t have the right to delay or shortened the start of the season without approval from the MLBPA.
Live events also push through even with a limited capacity, so it’s also a win for the teams and fans. MLB says that even spring training games might allow live audiences; tickets will be sold to small groups in “pods,” allowing venues to cater to sitting groups that are at least six feet away from one another. In the regular season, lower-capacity crowds will also likely be allowed. A “buffer zone” between fans and the field of play will then remain.
Manfred is already positive that the new season will start on time despite several scheduling issues. But changes in government orders, particularly at the federal level, may necessitate changes to the current memo and MLB’s overall plan soon.