June 30, 2022

Manfred Talks To ESPN, Blames Everyone Else For His Comments & Actions

Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN has a long feature-interview with Rob Manfred. This is how it begins:

"Do you hate baseball?"

I pose this question to Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred deep into an interview at Citi Field in New York.

"It is the most ridiculous thing, among some fairly ridiculous things that get said about me," he says. "The assertion that I hate the game – that one does rub me the wrong way, I have to tell you the truth."

Manfred's 38 words in response avoid and deflect. They do not answer the simple four-word question: Do you hate baseball?

I'll be honest. I skimmed the rest of the article because I don't much care what Manfred has to say. He's certainly not going to provide any wisdom; he's only going to annoy me. If he happens to say something truly idiotic, I'm sure I'll find out some other way. So I trust Craig Calcaterra is providing an accurate summary when he notes:

a good bit of the article contends that Manfred is the sort of guy who admits when he's wrong. In actuality, he admits to absolutely nothing substantive while deflecting blame for basically everything.

The list of "basically everything" is long: the ousting of Bud Selig in 1990, the 1994 strike and cancellation of the World Series, doing nothing during the years-long steroids scandal, doing nothing amid several sign-stealing scandals, okaying various quasi-legal actions (like buying stolen evidence) during the Biogenesis investigation, lying about negotiations with the union prior to the shortened 2020 season, the mismanagement of MLB's pandemic response, going ahead with the unnecessary 2021-22 lockout and then refusing to negotiate for six weeks, cancelling games and delaying the start of the 2022 season, lying about MLB using two types of baseballs (including an intentionally-deadened version), and his numerous rule changes which have done nothing but alter the foundations of the game that stood for 140+ years and turn the game into a gimmick-ridden joke . . .

All of that shit having to do with Manfred's direct actions and statements is . . . not Manfred's fault. Manfred is simply an innocent bystander. Like Trump (after whom Manfred seemed to be modeling himself at several points during the pandemic), nothing is Manfred's fault. Who is really to blame? Why, it's Vincent, the players, the owners, the union, social media, the print and TV media, the fans, the companies that manufacture baseballs . . . and everyone else in the world . . . but not Rob Manfred.


Everyone hates Manfred, but it's not Manfred's fault. There are a couple of token nods to things Manfred wishes he had done differently, but it's just superficial PR stuff like a poor choice of words here or there as opposed to any of his actions. Even then, those acknowledgments are used as a means of attacking others for focusing on unimportant things. It's completely clear that Manfred saw the series of interviews he sat for as a means of defending himself, not taking any sort of responsibility for anything. It's also clear that Van Natta has no real interest in pushing back against Manfred's defensive and, at times, false statements.

Atlanta Chairman Terry McGuirk praises Manfred for doing the owners' bidding:

Rob is a relentless guy focused on success. There are very few down days looking at the business of baseball with Rob at the helm. If we had to sign up for him again, we'd do it in spades 10 times over.


That is the argument for Rob Manfred's commissionership. No matter how many thousands of words are spent trying to position Manfred as some sage leader of men, the money he makes for the owners is the alpha and omega of his status and his paycheck.

For the many followers of baseball who do not own a baseball team (or a portion thereof), there is only the many down days looking at baseball with Manfred at the helm, a situation we did not sign up for. It's a shit sandwich – and the bread is made of shit, too.


Benjamin said...

For the many followers of baseball who do not own a baseball team (or a portion thereof)...

The Braves are publicly traded, so you too can own a portion of a racist baseball team for as little as $25.

laura k said...

So depressing.