Manfred Warns of Potential Shutdown, MLB Broadcast Partners Reportedly Told to Plan Alternate Programming
We’re a week into the 2020 MLB season following a four-month moratorium and fans seem to be split when it comes to their enjoyment so far. Whether they’re trying to squeeze every last ounce of enjoyment out of it or keeping their distance, everyone is attuned to the reality that it could all be over soon. That was made clear Friday, when commissioner Rob Manfred had a frank conversation with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.
With 29 positive tests this past week, 21 of which came from the Marlins organization alone, MLB is facing the first in a possible season-long barrage of postponements. The Marlins haven’t played a game since Sunday and won’t play again until August 4 at the earliest. The Phillies, Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals, Cardinals, and Brewers have been forced to postpone games.
Because of the shortened nature of the season and the way the schedule has been affected just a week in, Manfred reiterated to Clark the importance of following protocols. Though it was reportedly not delivered as an ultimatum, the commissioner warned that further outbreaks could force the league to shut down the 2020 season. This weekend is seen as pivotal, with ESPN’s Keith Olbermann reporting that MLB’s broadcast partners have been told to prepare alternate programming for next week and beyond should a worst-case scenario materialize.
The silver lining to this ticking time bomb is that only eight of 11,895 total tests this past week came back positive for organizations other than the Marlins, with only two of those being players. If the Marlins and MLB are able to weather this initial storm/snafu that seems to be mirroring the way America in general has dealt with the pandemic, perhaps they will be able to continue with this 60 game slate.
In the meantime, enjoy what baseball you can. Yes, even if it means smiling through Craig Kimbrel implosions.