By Tim Stannard/beIN SPORTS USA
MLB Commissioner says organization thinking "creatively" to both start and end current campaign
'Tis a sign of the dark times that when the Houston Astros take to the baseball field later this year for the first time, there could be whoops of joy, hats thrown into the air and standing ovations from opposing supporters.
The whole cheating, sign-sealing, business could be forgotten. The Astros hitting home runs in a completely above board, legal manner would mean that baseball is back.
Thursday was supposed to be the return of America's pastime with the Nationals against the Mets leading the day's fixtures which included all 30 teams. Unfortunately, like pretty much every other sport in the world at the moment, there is not a trash can to be tapped by some Texans for the foreseeable future.
However, there was optimism in the air from Major League Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, who told ESPN on Wednesday that "whenever it is safe to play, we'll be back."
Manfred revealed that there will be changes to the season to factor in less time to play it out. The number of matches is set to be reduced for starters with the mammoth 162 games for the teams being trimmed.
"Nothing is off the table," declared Manfred, who was optimistic for some kind of activity being possible in May.
The MLB bosses and teams have been "thinking creatively" around the challenges, as have the organization and players' union who have been in talks over how to deal with salaries and free agency deals which are tied in to the number of days their members have been with their teams.
Baseball may be off the air today, but perhaps the people of America can reproduce the experience today by packing a cooler with a liquid that is an insult to beer, booing the Houston Astros and then slowly nodding off an hour into the game.
It's the American Way.
Italian football boss pledges that season will be finished
The past 24 hours has not just seen fighting talk from baseball but also from the president of the Italian Football Federation, Gabriele Gravina.
Despite, the truly dreadful experience being suffered by the people of Italy in the coronavirus pandemic, Gravina is determined that the current season could be finished, even if that is in August. "As long as there is a chance. I don't give up easily," declared the Serie A boss.
The pledge echoes that of Spain's Federation head, Luis Rubiales, who said on Wednesday that the objective in Spain is to "save the season" whenever that may be.
Clubs begin tricky mission of cutting player salaries
While there is still talk of the future and the return of soccer, there are some very real problems being faced by clubs right now - how to survive the upcoming months without any income.
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin players have already volunteered to take pay cuts during the Bundesliga suspension. Another of Europe's giant teams, Barcelona, are trying the same approach with their squad with a reported desire to cut wages by 70%.
According to 'Sport', this has caused some division in the Camp Nou locker room between those who wonder why the cash has run dry so fast, others who are willing to negotiate and those who want to wait for guidance from the country's Players Union and a blanket agreement for all teams.
This was a particularly fiery topic with one panelist going all Bernie Sanders on Wednesday's edition of the Sports Burst live show and it could well be again today.
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