Rob Manfred has been a bungling commissioner since he took over in 2014, and now it seems he has cost the Minnesota Twins their 2020 season.
Rob Manfred is the commissioner of baseball, a position that requires a steady hand and sense of leadership, as a bridge between the baseball players and the owners of teams (like our beloved Minnesota Twins) that they play for.
When he first took over as the tenth commissioner of the league, I was optimistic, as he was essentially the deputy commissioner next to Bud Selig. Now Bud Selig was by no means a perfect commissioner, but he genuinely cared about the game and its players.
He worked hard to bridge a gap between owners and players to ensure that in general, everyone was decently happy. I had high hopes that Manfred would be a similar diplomat. He hasn’t been half that, and it looks as though things will get worse.
Rob Manfred’s History of Incompetence
The current disastrous state of negotiations is not the first time Manfred has looked weak and rudderless in the face of baseball’s most important job. From the second Manfred got the job, he has made it clear he only cares about his clients, the owners.
Manfred is a lawyer (he’s still licensed), and his motives have been clear from day one: Help his clients make as much money as possible, even if it means hurting the people who love the game (fans and players).
Whether it be doing everything he can to destroy the player’s union, destroying the league’s relationship with the minor leagues, or going easy on the Astros and Red Sox for stealing signs, Manfred has shown he isn’t a baseball guy and really doesn’t care about the game itself.
Those reasons not enough for you? He called the COMMISSIONER’S TROPHY, an award named for his office (the award that is given to the team that wins the World Series) a “piece of metal”. Yes, the single greatest achievement for a team in baseball:
Now he’s upped the ante for his absolutely bone-headed fight over the return of baseball. For those of you not familiar, Manfred and the owners agreed to give the players 50% of their salary for 50% of the games played. Seems fair, right?
When the owners learned there would be no fans in the seats, they decided that deal wasn’t fair anymore and decided to cut players salary, and bring both sides back to the bargaining table to try and make the BILLIONAIRE owners not lose out on more money.
Well, the players tried to negotiate, but the MLB offered the same deal in different forms, all while signing a BILLION DOLLAR deal with Turner sports to broadcast the games:
The players continued to give a little bit, trying to negotiate and make this work, leading to Manfred saying he is 100% certain there will be baseball in 2020. And he said this on Wednesday. After another offer without much change, the MLBPA told the MLB in no uncertain terms: We’re done negotiating if you aren’t going to work with us. Tell us where to be:
The MLB responded by saying that the players were preventing baseball from being played, as they wouldn’t set it up unless the players agreed not to file a grievance. To make matters worse, Manfred said today that there might not be baseball in 2020 LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER HE SAID THE OPPOSITE!!
Now if other commissioners had a similar attitude of protecting the owners at all costs, then Manfred wouldn’t be as bad. As it turns out though, Rob Manfred is so, so, so much worse.
Rob Manfred: Worse than any other Commissioner
Adam Silver (the NBA commissioner) is the gold standard as far as commissioners go, really working to form a positive bond with the players while also maintaining the owners’ wishes. He works hard to help both sides, and basketball has grown tremendously during his time in charge.
Roger Goodell (NFL), Gary Bettman (NHL), and Don Garber (MLS) have all made mistakes leading their leagues, but each has helped maintain the sport’s growth (Goodell and Garber especially), while Manfred has done nothing but the opposite.
Baseball may be gaining money, but the players’ salaries are staying the same and the game isn’t growing, alienating the two groups the MLB should be attracting. On top of this, Rob Manfred continuously pushes away agents and other sports figures with one-sided talks and thoughts.
I wrote an article on how the league fighting the players will have terrible consequences, and it doesn’t look like anything will be better soon. The owners may have orchestrated this, and have used Manfred as a puppet, but this isn’t something you feel with other commissioners.
Silver, Goodell, Bettman, and Garber all stand up to the owners once in a while, something Manfred’s never done. He is nothing more than a literal mouthpiece and a puppet for billionaires that run the game like a business.
Bottom Line for Rob Manfred
The big issue with all this is that despite Manfred being just a puppet, he’s doing his job perfectly in the owners’ minds. He’s turned fans against players while garnering support for the owners, made the league more money, and been a perfect shield to deflect blame from the owners.
We as fans would love to see him gone, with multiple petitions popping up across the internet have asked for his firing, and the players despise his lack of love of the game and maltreatment of the sport as a whole, but despite that, he’s not going anywhere.
This means baseball is headed for a dark place, and unless Manfred grows a spine soon, he’ll be the one leading the charge towards the end of America’s Pastime. Get ready Twins fans and baseball fans in general: Things will get ugly, and it’s all because of Manfred and his owner overlords.