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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Articles tagged: Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred expects drag on baseballs to change from year to year

Two slugfests in Major League Baseball’s London Series have once again called into question the baseballs being used by the league and whether they’re being manipulated to bring about more home runs.

Commissioner Rob Manfred suggested that, while there was no intent behind it, the baseballs being used in 2019 have less drag, but that factor is simply going to vary from year to year.

Manfred repeated the theory that the pill being more centered has reduced drag and led to more home runs.

MLB has ducked any blame for intentionally “juicing” baseballs, but home runs are at a record rate. Perhaps that’s exactly what they want, but lots of offense is at odds with Manfred’s pace of play initiatives.

Rob Manfred admits change in baseballs may be behind home run spike

Home run rates in Major League Baseball are on pace to hit an all-time high in 2019, and lots of reasons have been floated for it. One target is the baseball itself, with studies showing that the balls being used in games have changed in recent years and contributed to the homer-friendly environment.

At the MLB owners’ meetings earlier in the week, commissioner Rob Manfred admitted that there was something to that — namely, that more precise manufacturing meant the rubber-coated cork inside the baseball, known as the “pill,” is now closer to the center.

“They [Rawlings] haven’t changed their process in any meaningful way. They haven’t changed their materials,” Manfred said, via David Lennon of Newsday. “There’s two points that I would make, even in the report last year: The scientists identified the pill in the baseball — not what it was actually composed of — but the centering of the pill in the baseball as something that could be a drag issue. To the extent that the pill is not perfectly centered, the ball wobbles when it’s hit, creates more drag. We think one of the things that may be happening is they’re getting better at centering the pill. It creates less drag.”

In other words, the baseball may not be intentionally “juiced,” but it’s juiced in its own way. There have been other explanations for the change in baseballs, but there’s a clear consensus developing that something about them has changed in the last three years or so, and that change is making them fly a lot further than they used to.

MLBPA head Tony Clark hits back at Rob Manfred’s free agency comments

Rob Manfred

The tension between Major League Baseball and its players union will not be going away anytime soon.

In a statement released Monday, MLBPA chief Tony Clark hit out at commissioner Rob Manfred’s comments about free agency and team payroll, decrying a “two-year attack on free agency” and urging the implementation of “substantive changes” immediately to make the game more competitive.

Clark’s statement comes a day after Manfred suggested Bryce Harper had not helped himself when his camp set expectations of making him the first $400 million player. He was also widely derided for what many saw as tone-deaf comments about team payrolls.

With Harper and Manny Machado still unsigned, it’s fair to say that players are angry at the state of the game. Clark is fundamentally correct that too many teams simply aren’t trying to compete in any meaningful way, leaving a small market for good players that isn’t being satisfied. There’s a reason at least one player fears the worst as far as labor peace goes.

Rob Manfred roasted on Twitter for payroll comments

Rob Manfred

Social media had a bit of fun at Rob Manfred’s expense on Sunday.

Addressing reporters at Grapefruit League Media Day in Fort Myers, Fla., the MLB commissioner said that he did not believe that payroll was a good indicator of success in the league, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Manfred’s somewhat befuddling remark led to some funny Twitter reactions:

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Mike Trout responds to flap with commissioner

Mike Trout

Now Mike Trout himself has weighed in on the mini-controversy about him and Commissioner Rob Manfred.

On Tuesday, Manfred talked about the league not marketing its stars better and said that Trout was partially to blame for the issue because of a lack of interest.

“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time,” Manfred said, via ESPN. “That’s up to him. If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he’s prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort.”

A day later, the Los Angeles Angels responded by defending their superstar. In their statement, the Angels called Trout “an exceptional ambassador for the game” and “perfect role model.” They also praised him for prioritizing his personal life over his self-commercialization.

Later in the evening, Trout responded with a very Mike Trout statement. It was simple, to the point, and encouraged everyone to get back to focusing on baseball.

Trout has avoided controversies throughout his career, so it’s no surprise he’s doing so here. If you’re looking for drama with Mike Trout, you’re just not going to get it.

Angels rebuke commissioner, defend Mike Trout

Mike Trout

The Los Angeles Angels are not happy with commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent comments about Mike Trout, and they’re not even bothering to hide it.

On Tuesday, Manfred responded to criticism of MLB failing to properly market its stars by pointing out that players have to be actively engaged in marketing themselves if they want to be household names, and that Trout has chosen not to do that.

“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time,” Manfred said, via ESPN. “That’s up to him. If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he’s prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels clearly didn’t think much of Manfred’s response, and on Wednesday, issued a rather extraordinary statement in praise of their star outfielder while simultaneously shading the commissioner.

There is no other way to read this but as a rebuke of the commissioner’s comments, and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times quickly pointed out that Angels owner Arte Moreno initially wasn’t a supporter of Manfred’s.

Ever since entering the league, Trout has gone about his business in a low-key, no-nonsense manner. He’s declined the chance to participate in some of the league’s bigger showcases, and he doesn’t really do bombastic things on or off the field, preferring to hang out at Eagles games and geek out about weather. He shouldn’t be criticized for any of that, and it appears that Manfred may have caused a bigger problem for himself by singling Trout out as a player who simply hasn’t been engaged in enough self-promotion.

MLB commissioner explains why viral Terry Collins video was scrubbed

Terry Collins

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained on Thursday why a viral video of Terry Collins was scrubbed from the internet.

On Tuesday night, video emerged of the former New York Mets manager’s conversation with umpire Adam Hamari during a 2016 ejection. The never-before-seen video showed all parties exchanging profanities, but it was so entertaining that it gained plenty of steam and was widely shared.

Then all the fun came to an end less than 24 hours later when the video was removed due to copyright claims. Manfred says the video was removed because the leak violates terms of the CBA, which says those videos of mic’d up umpires would not be made public.

It’s unfortunate for those who never got to see the entertaining video, but that’s a more than legitimate reason for being protective of it.

Did Rob Manfred shade Bud Selig with comments about Dodgers hosting ASG?

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be finally be hosting the MLB All-Star Game for the first time in 40 years, and commissioner Rob Manfred seems to be nodding back to his predecessor as to why it took so long.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday after it was announced that the 2020 All-Star Game would be played at Dodger Stadium, Manfred hinted that those before him bore responsibility for the lengthy layover since the last time that the Dodgers hosted in 1980. Here is what he had to say, per JP Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group.

The obvious choice for who Manfred may be hinting at is ex-commissioner Bud Selig, who began serving in 1992. Selig’s aversion towards former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (justified or not) was certainly no secret.

True, the Dodgers have one of the oldest stadiums in the MLB today, and that may be another potential explanation for why it took so long for them to host another All-Star Game. But with the Los Angeles mega-market always playing host to a huge number of special events across all sports, it at least raises some questions, and Manfred seems to think the answers lie with previous regimes.

Rob Manfred sees difference between Yuli Gurriel gesture, Indians logo

Chief Wahoo logo

After Major League Baseball elected to discipline Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel for a racist gesture during Game 4 of the World Series, some groups asked why the league isn’t more aggressive in dealing with the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo.

The Cleveland logo, which has been decried as racially insensitive, has long been a subject of controversy — but commissioner Rob Manfred does not see a similarity.

“I see a difference in behavior from one player directed specifically at a player and a logo,” Manfred said, via Scott Boeck of USA Today. “While both are problematic, I don’t see them as the same issue.

“We continue to have conversations about the Indians with the logo and I intend to revisit it in the off-season.”

Cleveland has begun to phase out Chief Wahoo in favor of the block C, but it remains in some forms. MLB was right to come down hard on Gurriel, but Manfred should be looking to get rid of Chief Wahoo as well.

Rob Manfred says Portland could get MLB expansion team

Major League Baseball may be expanding out to the state of Oregon.

During a news conference earlier this week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about the possibility of the league expanding to 32 teams.

“I think it’s important to get [the] Oakland and Tampa [stadium situations] resolved before we move ahead with expansion,” said Manfred, per Tim Brown of The Oregonian.

Manfred was then asked if Portland was a candidate to receive a team.

“Portland would be on a list. Yeah,” he replied. “I mean, I think Portland is a possibility. If we were to go to 32 we would need a Western time zone team. We’d need at least one more and you can think about the prospects on the west coast probably about as effectively as I can.”

The MLB has been at 30 teams since their last expansion in 1998, which saw the additions of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As for Portland (and the whole of Oregon for that matter), the only major pro sports teams they currently have are the Blazers of the NBA and the Timbers of the MLS. Regardless, it’s a time of high hopes for the city, and they seems like as strong a destination as any for a potential expansion franchise.