MLB Commissioner pens Opening Day letter to fans: ‘Baseball will continue to be here for you'


Today should be Opening Day.

Obviously, it is not.

As the world continues to deal with the myriad effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred penned a letter, offering a message of optimism and resilience on a day that should have celebrated the annual return of America's pastime.

"Opening Day holds an important place in our hearts," Manfred wrote. "It signifies the arrival of spring, the promise of new beginnings, the return of following your favorite team on a long journey filled with twists and turns and the hope that your team will put together a magical season you will remember forever.

"Today is unlike any Opening Day in Major League Baseball's long history. We need to call on the optimism that is synonymous with Opening Day and the unflinching determination required to navigate an entire baseball season to help us through the challenging situation currently facing us all.

"We can do this together by following the direction of our public health experts and government officials to collectively address this global pandemic. Baseball will return, just as soon as it's safe to do so."

There is no indication of when the 2020 baseball season will begin. The league reportedly hopes to start the campaign in early June, but hope is all they can offer as the world faces ongoing uncertainty during this pandemic. It is almost impossible to predict a return to normalcy for life in general, let alone the world of sports.

RELATED: Report: Baseball hoping to start 2020 season in early June

The league and the union continue to have discussions over what the 2020 season will look like once it does begin. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported earlier this week that those discussions include the possibilities of a shortened regular season that stretches into October, postseason games played at neutral locations to account for winter weather and an expanded postseason featuring more than 10 teams. None of that, though, can be ironed out until there's more clarity on when the season can begin.

While the current realities are upsetting to baseball fans, the commissioner reminded fans in his letter that baseball will be back at some point.

"Throughout our history, baseball has helped us get through difficult times," he wrote. "Baseball will continue to be here for you as we face these challenges together as a community, and we look forward to when we can safely get back on the field and hear the words, 'play ball.'"

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