MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN that he is not certain that there will be a 2020 MLB season.Manfred’s latest comments come just five days after he said MLB will “unequivocally” play, giving it a “100 percent” chance.To date, the league’s players and team owners have been at odds over pay and the length of the season, with deep-seeded mistrust derailing negotiations.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The prospects of a 2020 MLB season even seem uncertain to Commissioner Rob Manfred.On Monday, Manfred told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg on a special titled “The Return of Sports” that he is not certain that MLB will have a season due to stalled negotiations between owners and players.”I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” Manfred said of the possibility of not playing.The comments on Monday raised eyebrows, as last week, Manfred said he was 100% certain that MLB would have a season.
“Unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year,” Manfred had said on MLB Network, giving it a “100 percent” chance.To date, the league and its owners have been in a stalemate with the players over the format of the season, the number of games that would be played, and the players’ pay. Since agreeing to pro-rate salaries, the two sides have been at odds over the number of games, with owners arguing that the more games they play without fans, the more money they will lose. Players have doubted the owners’ financial claims and have pushed for more games and fewer paycuts than the owners have.Deep-seeded mistrust between the two sides has not helped, and Manfred changing his tune so quickly illustrates the overall mismanagement. Many have felt MLB has blown an opportunity to be the first major American sport to return during the coronavirus pandemic.”It’s just a disaster for our game, absolutely no question about it,” Manfred told Greenberg about the inability between the two sides to come to an agreement. “It shouldn’t be happening, and it’s important that we find a way to get past it and get the game back on the field for the benefit of our fans.”
As Chris Cotillo of MassLive noted, Manfred’s doubt about the season comes during a special with other sports commissioners who have figured out a way to resume the season.—Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 15, 2020MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2021 season. If MLB can’t stage a 2020 season, the split between the two sides may only get worse.