Shortly after taking over as Bud Selig’s successor as MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred had to deal with a few hurdles and challenges.
However, since 2019, he has a rough track record in conflict resolutions, as the league has often turned into a clown show.
If you think the current negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is the only stain in his stint as Commissioner, think again.
Since the 2019 World Series, Manfred has had to deal with the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, the 2020 pandemic, controversies about the ball and its properties, and the current work stoppage.
In none of those situations has he acted with grace and dignity, and far from finding quick, effective (and peaceful) resolutions, he has been exposed.
Rob Manfred since the 2019 World Series:
-Failed to punish cheaters.
-Called WS trophy a “piece of metal.”
-Used a pandemic for financial leverage.
-Imposed a 60-game “season.”
-Introduced ghost runners & 7-inning “games.”
-Secretly manipulated baseballs.
-Locked out MLB players
— Tom Sileo (@TSileo) February 4, 2022
The Last Three Years Have Been Tough For Fans
He failed to implement severe, exemplary punishment to the Astros, as he only suspended a few of the authors for a year, imposed a modest fine, and took away some draft picks.
He then made some derogatory comments about the World Series trophy, calling it a “piece of metal.”
As the visible face of the owners during the 2020 negotiations to play baseball in the middle of the pandemic, he fought players over money, which is pretty much what he is doing right now, too.
Players wanted more games to receive more prorated pay, but the owners, led by Manfred, wanted fewer games.
The sides couldn’t agree on a set number and Manfred ended up imposing a 60-game season to start in July 2020.
Back then, we had an ugly preview of the 2021-22 CBA negotiations: lots of analysts forecasted what we are currently going through, mainly because Manfred has shown he hardly cares about players and defends the owners’ interest fiercely.
As the commissioner, he should be defending MLB’s interests, including players and fans.
The main interest, at least for players and fans (and owners, too) should be that there is a season with as many games as possible.
Manfred also introduced “ghost” runners at second base starting in the extra innings and seven-inning doubleheaders, all because he, and the league as a whole, insisted pace of play was a problem.
Baseball’s Bigger Problem Is Currently At The Commissioner’s Office
Clearly, baseball has bigger problems than how long games last, and most of the issues start at the Commissioner’s office.
The variance in the home run output in 2019-21 suggests the league has also manipulated balls from year to year, which has been criticized by players and fans alike.
Something I hadn't heard from a player before: Pete Alonso just told reporters his theory, which he says is widespread among players, that MLB manipulates the baseballs year-to-year based on free agent class. Pointed to juiced ball of 2019 before a lot of pitchers hit the
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) June 9, 2021
The lowest thing Manfred did, however, was locking out players in December and asking for a federal mediator in February.
He allegedly decided to implement the lockout because he wanted to jumpstart negotiations with a pressure measure, but in reality, all he wanted was to force players into agreeing to things they have been fiercely fighting against.
Seeing how players don’t want to concede too much, he expressed his frustration and asked for a third party to “help” solve something he enforced.
Overall, Manfred’s stint as MLB’s Commissioner hasn’t been good at all, but what he has done since 2019 has been extremely harmful to the game of baseball.
We may not have an MLB season in 2022, and if that’s the case, he will be the primary culprit.