Rob Manfred is not a fan favorite around baseball. MLB’s commissioner has made a lot of enemies just in the last couple of months alone, let alone in his time at the helm. His treatment of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal started off what would end up being months of anger and frustration directed t him.
Manfred sat down with The Atheltic’s Evan Drellich recently ti discuss his last five years running MLB. In his mind, Manfred believes that the decisions he has made in changes to the game have only improved things. He also believes that the fans showing hate towards him don’t understand how much he cares about the game of baseball.
I think it’s the discussion of change.Their logic, I believe, is: ‘He wants to change it, therefore he doesn’t love it.’ My logic is: ‘I love it, it needs to be consummate with today’s society in order for people to continue to love it, and therefore, I’m willing to take whatever criticism comes along in an effort to make sure the game is something Americans will continue to embrace.
Manfred also believes that the rules he’s adjusted have been more effective across MLB than most fans give him credit for. In fact, Manfred felt as if fans of MLB severely overreacted to the drastic changes.
The tiebreak rule. I’m not saying that we’re going to stay with it, I really am not. We went to it as part of the COVID protocols… But if you look at it when prior to the pandemic people talked about it: Oh my God, it was like a crime. It was like you were committing a crime against humanity. Now people have seen it in action and there’s lots of people saying, ‘You know what, this is actually OK.’
It’s not exactly a great look to discount the feelings of fans of MLB, especially as commissioner. But Manfred has made it a habit to polarize the fan base that opposes his decision lately, and that doesn’t seem to be changing. Manfred goes on to mock the feelings of fans with other changes he has made.
The catcher-collision rule, that was going to be the end of humanity. Turns out it was a good thing. The change on the rule at second base, same thing. The four-pitch intentional walk, nobody even thinks about it anymore.
Maybe its the way it’s phrased, or maybe it’s the way it was written up by The Athletic that makes Manfred sound so arrogant. Or maybe, this is exactly who he is. In which case, MLB needs him to go as soon as possible.