Joe Maddon: Over Zoom with managers, Manfred pragmatic but optimistic on 2020
By Jeffrey Bellone
Angels manager Joe Maddon provides a hint at the overall feeling among baseball executives for a 2020 season.
Angels manager Joe Maddon revealed on a podcast on Monday that he met with fellow managers and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred over Zoom this week and the commissioner offered a “pragmatically honest while optimistic” message about the prospect of a 2020 season eventually starting.
MLB suspended baseball operations on March 13 due to the novel coronavirus.
By now, most of us have learned how to use video conferencing services, such as Zoom, to keep in touch with family, friends and co-workers, while following social distancing guidelines at home. Apparently, MLB and its managers are doing the same.
Maddon talked about his Zoom call with MLB on his Maddon Mondays show.
“Had a great conversation, all of the managers and some front office people, front office from MLB folks, on a Zoom call the other day, and I’m not at liberty to divulge, but I thought the commissioner did a great job, very lucid and clear, and pragmatically honest while being optimistic [about a 2020 season].”
On Monday, Manfred informed teams they could furlough or reduce the pay of full-time employees as teams struggle to generate cash flow without games being played. At the same time, he offered an optimistic tone, as Maddon recalls from the Zoom conversation, and separately reported by ESPN, he told league officials, “I fully anticipate baseball will return this season.”
Scheduling the 2020 season is complicated enough in considering all of the factors for operating safely within a global pandemic, but things might become more challenging as the league figures out how much the players are paid over a reduced schedule without fans in attendance, something the player’s union already thought was negotiated, but apparently the owners do not believe the issue is settled.
Meanwhile, two fans have filed a lawsuit against MLB, each of its 30 teams, and their ticket partners over their failure to provide adequate refunds for tickets purchased for the 2020 season. Angels fans were able to receive refunds for the canceled Freeway Series exhibition at the end of March against the Dodgers. But teams have been advising fans to hold on to their regular season tickets until games are possibly rescheduled, which seems unlikely given the circumstances.
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The Angels were scheduled to start the season on March 26 against the Houston Astros. So far 22 games have been missed on the regular schedule due to the shutdown.