When Commissioner Bud Selig retired and current Commissioner Rob Manfred took over for him, I knew there was going to be problems. I had seen Manfred speak and knew of his past record. There’s a huge difference between Selig and Manfred. Selig was a former owner, responsible for bringing baseball to Milwaukee. Selig owned and ran the Brewers for years and was an ambassador for the game. He wasn’t perfect, but you could tell that he actually cared about the game, and the integrity of the sport.
Manfred is not that kind of man. He’s the typical greedy, modern corporate executive. A former attorney, he’s focused on maximizing profits and perpetuating the analytics movement. He cares very little for the sport, and it’s super dangerous to put a man like this in charge of Baseball, let alone any sport. Yet here we are, stuck with Manfred running baseball, and not surprisingly he’s making things much worse than they ever were under Selig’s tenure.
Nobody is perfect, but this current stalemate between players and owners during the Coronavirus Pandemic is an example of how foul leadership can erode any sport, company, or government. While the players and owners continue to try and hash out an agreement on how to start and play the 2020 season, Manfred does little to bridge the gap between labor peace and a full scale shutdown of the sport. We’ve been on the brink of this for some time now, and it hasn’t gotten better.
To make matters worse, being a typical modern sleazy executive Manfred is completely out of touch with what the fans want and balance that with what is best for the sport. The great thing about baseball is that there is not much need for rule changes. Baseball is not like Football or the NBA where there needs to be dozens of rule changes every few years. Yet every season Manfred continues to do everything he can to try and turn MLB into the NBA.
He must listen to the fans and stop listening to marketing executives. Pace of play rules keep getting more outrageous by the year. Manfred mistakenly thinking that the problem with the game is the length of the games and has instituted time clocks, time restraints on batters in the box, and severely limited mound visits. Not only can you not stop the game during an opposing rally to talk to your pitcher, or discuss pitch strategy, you can’t even have your catcher go to the mound. Dodger Stadium has a time clock in straight away center field. Pitching changes are what drag out the games.
If Manfred knew anything about the sport he governs he would know that the real problem lies in the analytics movement that has stagnated baseball. The data revolution has eliminated base running and made the game inactive. There are no more stolen bases, hit and runs, or pitch-outs. Base-runners have become a rare commodity. The three-true outcomes of home run, strikeout, or walk dominate the game today as more front offices and coaching staffs teach the players to adjust their swings to hit more fly balls. The Analytics movement may help individual teams evaluate their players better, but it’s harmed the sport as a whole, making the product less interesting to watch. Everything has become a predictive algorithm because of it. There are few surprises these days in baseball.
The worst part of this is that now Manfred has turned his attention on destroying the integrity of the sport and the regular season. In order to make up for the losses from the Pandemic, Manfred and the owners are expanding the postseason to 16 teams this season and in 2021. It’s a ridiculous number ensuring that several 75-win teams qualify for the playoffs.
Manfred is a total scumbag. He’s failed to fairly punish the Astros and Red Sox for their sign-stealing scandals and refuses to acknowledge their wrong-doings. He’s insulted players, and belittled and marginalized the World Series Trophy. Whether baseball returns in 2020 or not, Rob Manfred should be relieved of his duties.