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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Rob Manfred bothered by 1 particular criticism of him

Rob Manfred at a press conference

Feb 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Choosing a criticism of Rob Manfred is like choosing from an all-you-can-eat buffet. But it turns out Manfred has one specific criticism he really hates.

In a feature written about him this week by ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., the embattled MLB commissioner Manfred admitted that there is one criticism in particular that bothers him — that he supposedly hates baseball.

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

Manfred, who has been in office since 2013, covers a number of other topics related to the sport, including expansion, pace of play, umpiring, and more, in Van Natta’s feature. You can read it in full here.

The notion that Manfred actually loathes the sport that he is commissioner of is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But fans have cited some compelling evidence in support of it. Most notably, Manfred has come under fire for his botched handling of the recent MLB lockout (in which he inexplicably smiled while announcing the cancellation of games), his perceived weakness in dealing with the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, the contentious negotiations over the 2020 season, and the notorious time that he trivialized the World Series trophy as a literal piece of hardware.

Since the lockout ended, Manfred has been trying his hardest to improve his public image. But once you get a reputation as a habitual hater of all things baseball, it can be pretty tough to shake that.

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