Phillies news: Owner believes 2020 season will be played

Commissioner of the MLB Rob Manfred and owner of the Philadelphia Phillies John S. Middleton (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
Commissioner of the MLB Rob Manfred and owner of the Philadelphia Phillies John S. Middleton (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images) /
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In a letter to Phillies employees saying they will continue to be paid through May, owner John Middleton says he believes a 2020 season will take place.

During these unprecedented times, hardly anything about today, tomorrow, next month or even next year is certain. Among those uncertainties is whether the 2020 Major League Baseball season will be able to be played.

In a recent letter to full-time Phillies employees — committing to pay them through May with no layoffs or pay cuts — Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton says he believes the 2020 season will eventually happen.

“I am neither an epidemiologist nor a public policy maker, but I do know our industry, and it is my sincere belief that baseball will be played this year,” Middleton wrote in his letter, obtained by NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I may be proven incorrect, but that is how I am thinking and operating right now. As long as we believe we will play a meaningful number of games in 2020, then I believe we can avoid the most painful forms of budget reduction.”

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If a 2020 season were to happen, it is expected it would be without fans for the majority, if not all, of the games. Currently, games are being played in Taiwan under this state, with very few in the stadium outside of players and umpires. Several scenarios on how MLB could return have been speculated, one of them being a Grapefruit League and Cactus League setup at the spring training sites in Florida and Arizona.

The Phillies and Atlanta Braves are believed to be the only two major league teams thus far to commit to continue to pay their employees in full through May. Middleton later cautioned in his letter that “there may very well come a time when certain adjustments have to be made,” given “zero revenues for the foreseeable future.”

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NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury writes:

"With the entire sports world shut down by the coronavirus health crisis, teams in all professional sports leagues have had to consider pay cuts and layoffs. The Utah Jazz made cuts. The Buffalo Sabres have had significant layoffs. High-ranking executives from the Texas Rangers have taken voluntary pay cuts as have top officials with Major League Baseball. Locally, the 76ers planned to cut employee salaries last month but backed off due to public backlash."

We all miss baseball. We would like it to return sooner than later, only if it can be certain that the health of anyone in attendance is not in danger. For now, all we can do is appreciate Middleton’s optimism for a 2020 season, and, of course, his great gesture to continue to pay Phillies employees through May.