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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

MLB hoping to resume activity in May, considering many options

Rob Manfred

MLB is eager to get back to play this year and eyeing a return to activity in May. The league is also considering many options to be able to play as many games as possible this year.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred joined ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt for an interview on Wednesday night. In the interview, Manfred shared the league’s hopes for the year.

“Look, my optimistic outlook is that at some point in May, we’ll be gearing back up,” Manfred told Van Pelt. “We’ll have to make a determination, depending what the precise date is, as to how much of a preparation period we need, whether that preparation period is gonna be done in the clubs’ home cities or back in Florida and Arizona. Again, I think the goal would be to get as many regular-season games as possible, and think creatively about how we can accomplish that goal.”

As part of getting creative to play as many games as possible, MLB is talking with the players’ union about several possibilities. That could include increased doubleheaders, perhaps even some of the 7-inning variety.

Manfred has long been opposed to changing the length of games away from nine innings, but he said these extenuating circumstances could change his mind for this year.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the league is considering other changes for the year, such as a neutral-site World Series, which would allow the league to continue its regular season into October. A neutral-site World Series could allow for the possibility of playing in a warm-weather city late in the year. They could also consider an expanded playoff system, likely to give more teams a shot at the championship in what would be a reduced season. MLB was already considering expanding the playoffs, so this could be a test of what it might be like.

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