With the 2020 Major League Baseball season not expected to begin until some point in June — at the earliest — there are hardly certainties in place as sports leagues and the world continue to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
MLB is operating in accordance with public health officials, and isn’t expected to resume any activities until at least May 11 — the day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested gatherings of 50 or more people not be held prior to.
The layoff will require a second Spring Training for players, possibly push the regular season schedule deep into the fall and potentially the winter, and likely lend to other changes.
Some players have projected a second camp would need to be two or three weeks, though Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was hesitant to forecast as much. “There are a lot of unknowns with that,” he said.
“I think depending on how much advanced notice you can have of when Spring Training will start, which obviously in this situation isn’t the easiest thing. I just think there are a lot of different variables involved, including what’s your roster size when you start.
“How many games are you playing a week? Or every two weeks? So much goes into it that I think will determine that. But I know the union and commissioner’s office are on the same page about playing as many games as we possibly can while also making sure our pitchers are in a good spot to do that.”
As Friedman alluded to, MLB is said to be considering a schedule with multiple doubleheaders per week, games possibly shortened from nine innings, and it’s presumed rosters will be further expanded from the 26 players that was expected to take effect this season.
“More specifically, from a bigger picture perspective, I think being openminded and trying to creatively think through the best solutions to how to get in as many games as we can, I think is important,” Friedman said.
“What that ultimately leads to, I’m not sure at this point. But I think it’s an important mindset to have going in. I know everybody is unified in the desire to play as many games as we can. What that means I think will depend some on when we can actually start up again.
“I think everybody is keeping a very open mind right now and continuing to evaluate the situation. As we get more clarity I think you’ll be able to figure out what that runway looks like from there. There’s just too many unknowns to make stronger statements than that.”
If and when the 2020 season begins also has ramifications for the Dodgers with respect to the MLB All-Star Game. It remains scheduled at Dodger Stadium on July 14, but could ultimately be cancelled.
“Three weeks ago all of us were incredibly excited about the All-Star Game,” Friedman said. “Right now, it’s just not where my focus is. It’s tough to say exactly when we’ll be able to get back to playing. And when we can, obviously where we are in the calendar will play a large role in that. It’s another one of those unknowns that I alluded to earlier.
“I think a lot will be dictated by what things look like a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now.”
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