In all likelihood, the Minnesota Twins aren’t going to play a game in April, and some forecasts suggest that May could be in question, too. Twins President Dave St. Peter has been on some high-level conference calls as the country wrestles with how to best handle the spreading coronavirus, and he says that he remains optimistic that there will be a baseball season in 2020, albeit a shortened one.
That’s one of the standout takeaways from an interview with SKOR Norh this week, which first aired on Mackey & Judd with Ramie (weekdays 4-6pm).
Here are a few more things we heard from the Twins’ President:
*After the Twins decided to send everyone home from spring training on Saturday, the players dispersed. The Twins then chartered a flight home Monday from Fort Myers to Minnesota, carrying front office members, a few players and other staff members, St. Peter said.
*There has been a lot of internal speculation within teams and the league about what a season could look like. Since, unlike the NHL and NBA, baseball has had the front end of its schedule impacted.
“I continue to be optimistic, based on everything that I’ve been told, that we will have a season,” St. Peter said. “How many games that will include remains to be seen; what impact it will have on postseason, that remains to be seen. But we’ll tackle all those issues at the appropriate time. There’s more questions than answers today and I think it will be that way for a while.”
*Remember when the big talker of the day was that the Twins would join the growing number of teams that would cut down autographs during camp?
Around that time, MLB teams also were considering about how to re-arrange the start of their season to be safe and still start on time, March 26.
“It feels like 2 years ago when we were having dialogue about different scenarios,” St. Peter said. Those talks included changing games to neutral sites with fans, or playing with no fans.
Now, those talks feel very far removed. “We are doing exactly what we need to as an industry and as a sport, which is to try to avoid bringing people together, and that’s just the reality of our situation,” St. Peter said.
*Those games could have been held in Minnesota or in Fort Myers, as two options went. They talked about a neutral-site road trip to Arizona at one point. And there was even discussions about a Twins-A’s series in Las Vegas.
*After the Center for Disease Control & Prevention recommended that there be no gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks, MLB began wrestling with a new reality. If games don’t start again until mid-May, how will they have enough runway to play 162 this year?
“Realistically, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that’s going to be a really big challenge,” St. Peter said. “And I don’t know what happens with the 8-week recommendation in the future – does the CDC scale that back to 6 weeks? I’m not necessarily counting on that. … Baseball will look at a variety of different options around trying to play as many games as possible.
“That could lead to some really non-traditional things. It could lead to adding regular season games at the end of the current regular season. We could play a couple weeks into October in regular season. There’s been discussion of a neutral-site World Series, or maybe moving more of the postseason to neutral-site locations. Those are big ideas that have been kicked around for years, but this might be a year where we actually test some of those things.
“We also could play a multitude of doubleheaders. There will be a push to play as many games as possible. Not only because there’s a desire to recoup those revenues, but [also] from a player perspective, there’s a desire to ensure that they’re getting paid at the fullest rate possible. So both sides will be incented to play as many games as you can, just so long as it makes sense,” St. Peter said.
“Those are all just ideas being kicked around and it’s all going to require some form of agreement between the Players’ Associated and Major League Baseball, and those discussions are going on as we speak.”