MLB commissioner Rob Manfred remains skeptical of major leaguers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but he’s also still waiting to discuss the matter with international officials.
“There have not been any substantive discussions with the baseball and softball confederation about participation of major-league players in the 2020 Olympics,” Manfred said Tuesday in Tokyo for the World Baseball Classic, according to the Japan Times. “I’m sure that those conversations will take place. We have not even been informed about what exactly the format of the event is going to be, how many days would be involved and whatnot.
“I am more than prepared to hear what the event is going to look like, describe to our owners what our options are with respect to participation in that type of event, and we’ll make a decision from there.”
When baseball was re-added to the Olympics for 2020, ending a 12-year absence from the Games, it was reported that the tournament would include six teams. In the most recent Olympic baseball tournaments, there were eight teams.
Both Manfred and the MLB Players Association head have emphasized the difficulties in MLB participation in Tokyo 2020, most notably the fact that the Games take place during the MLB and minor-league seasons.
“The skepticism that you’ve heard from some relates to, no matter how you put the event together there would be a significant amount of major league players who would be away from their teams,” Manfred said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. “It would alter the competition in our everyday game. I do not believe our owners would support some sort of a break in our season. Continuity is really important to our competition.”
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