Amid protests, Manfred addresses Orioles, White Sox

Amid protests, Manfred addresses Orioles, White Sox

BALTIMORE -- Commissioner Rob Manfred has been making an effort to meet with as many teams as possible during his first year in office, which is why he flew to Baltimore on Monday.

Manfred planned to talk to players from the Orioles and the visiting White Sox. He had some business to discuss with O's owner Peter Angelos. And, on top of all that, Manfred just likes the city. It was here that he was elected to replace Bud Selig last August. Years ago, Manfred was a season-ticket holder at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The civil unrest that persisted after the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday altered his plans somewhat. Manfred did get a chance to address both teams, but that was about it. When the game was postponed due to safety concerns, he headed back to New York without getting an opportunity to see the game.

"I didn't get an opportunity to meet with Mr. [Peter] Angelos today," Manfred said. "I did talk to the players in both clubhouses. I was glad to have that chance. Mr. Angelos and I had some topics we were going to discuss, and we'll discuss those later. We've already made arrangements to do that."

Given that Manfred was in Baltimore, it was inevitable that two topics would dominate his brief news conference: the status of the dispute between the Orioles and Nationals over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, and when Baltimore might be awarded an All-Star Game.

Manfred acknowledged that the MASN situation has dragged on, but he noted that he's not at liberty to say much about it.

"There's going to be a hearing on May 18," Manfred said. "As you know, I've been involved in conversations with both clubs for literally -- and I hate to admit this -- years. Because it's in litigation, I haven't stopped having those conversations, but I really can't say more than that right now."

The next four All-Star Games will be held in National League cities: Cincinnati this July, San Diego in 2016, Miami in '17 and Washington in '18.

"The way I look at what we've done with respect to All-Star Games is that we picked what we felt were the best cities in each of the years," Manfred said. "Determining what's best, you have to remember that there are occasionally commitments that are made in the context of stadium constructions and reconstructions. There's never a precise time, but sooner or later, those commitments have to be fulfilled.

"My own view is that Baltimore would be a great candidate for an All-Star Game. There's huge demand, and I do feel like after the games that have been announced we'll have more flexibility in terms of selecting the games."

In answer to a question, Manfred added that there is no link between the MASN standoff and the O's hosting an All-Star Game for the first time since 1992.

"There is absolutely no connection between anything that has gone on with respect to the MASN dispute and the decisions that were made with respect to the All-Star Game," Manfred said. "Trying to connect those dots, really, is just not accurate. We make the decisions with respect to the All-Star Game based on what city we think is going to do the most for growing the game, for the benefit of all 30 clubs and the players. I try not to let any activity on the business side of the game affect those decisions, not only with respect to Baltimore, but with respect to any club."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.