Major League Baseball is eager to get back on the field this year and is eyeing a return in May. MLB is also considering many options to be able to play as many games as possible this year.
Commissioner Rob Manfred joined ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt for an interview on Wednesday night and Manfred shared his 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 games of the seven-inning variety.
Manfred has long been opposed to changing the length of games away from nine innings, but said these extenuating circumstances could change his mind for this year.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that MLB is considering other changes for the year, such as a neutral-site World Series, which would allow baseball 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.
MLB 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.