(CBS) Chicago is center of the baseball universe this weekend, with its first-place Cubs and White Sox each hosting first-place foes at their respective ballparks Thursday.
But as the city gears up for a big weekend of baseball, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred concedes that his game needs to improve and evolves the ways it distributes the product around the world.
Speaking to the Boers and Bernstein Show on Thursday, Manfred admitted how baseball is approaching this issue.
“Technology and the availability of our game on a variety of platforms is something where we need to be better … it’s something we’re having conversations on every day in the office,” Manfred said.
“If there was a simple solution, we would’ve found it.”
Manfred said that the disconnect in making baseball available comes from the game’s broadcasts through regional sports networks, which MLB doesn’t control.
“Giving people access to the game and the way they want to consume it is a really important topic for us,” Manfred said.
“It’s one that’s real important to us, and it’s more difficult because, obviously, the media landscape is changing very rapidly. To make adjustments in a changing landscape is a challenging undertaking.”
Entering Thursday, the Cubs owned baseball’s best record at 20-6, and the White Sox hold the top mark in the American League at 19-9. Hopes are heating up early for an all-Chicago World Series between the Cubs and White Sox.
Manfred’s now more than a year into his tenure as baseball’s commissioner, inheriting a rule that allows the All-Star Game to decide which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
“I think that home-field advantage rule with respect to the All-Star Game has been very important in keeping our All-Star Game the best All-Star Game in professional sports,” Manfred said. “It really does give the players something to play for in that game. The Midsummer Classic is very important to the game. It’s a showcase for us, and the games have to be meaningful.”
Manfred’s visiting with the White Sox and Red Sox on Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field. Chicago is ready for a rare weekend of both teams in town, with a day of four first-place teams in action. The city is eager for what could be a thrilling season ahead.
“Certainly,” Manfred said, “baseball in Chicago has gotten off to a great start.”