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#pounditSaturday, November 27, 2021

Articles tagged: Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred gives his take on how foreign substance enforcement is going

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball has endured some awkward moments this week as it begins its crackdown on pitchers illegally using foreign substances. Despite that, commissioner Rob Manfred thinks things are going great.

Manfred told Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic that he was pleased with how the on-field substance checks are going and downplayed Tuesday’s incident in Philadelphia between Joe Girardi and Max Scherzer.

“My view is the first two days have gone very well,” Manfred said. “We’ve had no ejections, players in general have been extremely cooperative, the inspections have taken place quickly and between innings. Frankly, the data suggests that we are making progress with respect to the issues (in spin rate) that caused us to undertake the effort in the first place. I understand the incident in Philadelphia was less than ideal, but that was one incident. And we expect that we will continue, as the vast majority of cases so far, without that kind of incident.”

Manfred responded to criticisms from Scherzer after Tuesday’s game after the Nationals pitcher referred to the crackdown as the “Manfred rules” and suggested there was a lack of clarity on them from the league. Manfred said the league had sought input from players, but many failed to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It would be incorrect, blatantly incorrect, to assume that the players and the union did not a) provide input into what we are doing and b) have additional opportunities to provide input that they did not take advantage of,” Manfred said. “The transparency that I owe is to the players. We were really transparent from the beginning of the year that this was an issue of concern to us and that things needed to change.”

Manfred’s comments are unlikely to change any opinions, nor will they change the fact that some players are simply going to insist on showing their displeasure with the situation. There are plenty who are in favor of what’s going on, and in all likelihood, everyone is going to get used to it whether they want to or not.

Carlos Rodon shows how clueless he is with Rob Manfred complaint

Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon got lots of pats on the back on social media for calling out Rob Manfred on Tuesday, but he showed how clueless he is.

Rodon, who has been stellar for the Chicago White Sox this season, complained about what he viewed as inconsistencies in the suspensions by MLB. He has issues with MLB handing out 10-game suspensions to pitchers who are caught using foreign substances, while the Astros’ players received no suspensions for cheating.

“It’s hard to see this when you’re giving out 10-game suspensions for cheating, but you give the Astros no suspensions at all,” Rodon said. “If Rob Manfred can look himself in the mirror and say, ‘hey, I’m doing the right thing,’ that’s fine. Can’t suspend the team that you actually knew was cheating in a playoff game, that’s on you.”

Actually, Carlos, it’s on you, not Manfred. The reason Manfred didn’t suspend the Astros’ players is because his hands were tied. Your players union was going to file grievances on behalf of any suspended Astros player, and likely win. They were going to blame MLB for not clearly explaining and enforcing rules regarding the way the Astros were cheating. As a result, Manfred gave Astros players immunity in exchange for their honest testimony, which was used to discipline the higher-ups, like Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora, who aren’t protected by the players’ union.

If you have issues with the suspension policies, Carlos, take it up with your union. Don’t wrongly try to blame the commissioner, who is working based on limitations of the powerful players’ union.

It’s amazing how many athletes don’t seem to understand how their own unions work.

Rodon also seems to be outing himself as an illegal substance user. His strong response indicates he is unhappy over having something taken away from him. Is it any coincidence the 28-year-old is having a career-year with a 1.89 ERA this season?

MLB moves All-Star Game out of Atlanta over new voting laws

Rob Manfred

The MLB All-Star Game was scheduled to be held in Atlanta this year, but the league announced on Friday that the event will be relocated.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement announcing that the Midsummer Classic will be moved to a new city. He said the decision was made in response to new voting legislation that was passed in Georgia.

The new Georgia election bill, titled the “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” tightens restrictions on voting in the state. Voters will be required to have ID numbers to submit absentee ballots, among other new rules.

Manfred said MLB is finalizing plans to host the game in a new city and will announce the new venue in the near future.

Could MLB switch to neutral site World Series for the future?

Rob Manfred

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred liked hosting the World Series at a neutral site so much that he’s willing to consider it for the future.

Manfred said that there are many reasons a neutral site World Series could be beneficial for the teams involved. He did admit, however, that depriving home fans of seeing their teams in the World Series was a significant drawback.

“You should always think about innovation,” Manfred told Eric Prisbell of Sports Business Daily. “I wouldn’t say a neutral-site World Series is completely off the table. There were things that we saw in Texas that were advantages for us. You can plan. You can take out travel. You can pick sites that eliminate weather problems. Those are all things worthy of conversation and discussion. I think the big (weight) on the scale in favor of our traditional format, the thing that really matters at the end of the day, are fans in home markets.”

Manfred is right about the possible benefits. In theory, weather would never be a concern, and teams could cut down on travel. However, many fans of the teams involved wouldn’t be able to simply travel to a neutral site to see their team play. That’s especially true if one of the teams doesn’t play particularly close to the neutral site.

On one hand, the players didn’t seem to mind playing at neutral sites. Plus the games were by and large quite good. There’s no substitute for a packed home crowd in a playoff game, though.

This may explain why Rob Manfred was slurring speech after game

Rob Manfred

Those watching the postgame show after the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday night likely heard MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred slurring his speech and sounding weird.

Here is how Manfred sounded:

Manfred has never been known to have speech problems, so many people were wondering what was going on.

Some TV reporters who have experience being on air for such situations explained what they thought was the reason. They believe that Manfred was thrown off by an echo from wearing an earpiece while his voice was going out over the PA.

Manfred’s speech was anything but smooth. He was speaking like he definitely had some interference.

Manfred should also expect to answer lots of questions about Justin Turner joining the Dodgers for the postgame celebration.

Rob Manfred says MLB could limit defensive shifts

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball has introduced a host of rule changes in recent years, but commissioner Rob Manfred suggested a bigger one may be yet to come.

Appearing on Friday’s edition of “The Dan Patrick Show,” Manfred said that limiting defensive shifts is a frequent topic of conversation for the league’s competition committee.

“A lot of people feel that the extreme shifting that you’re talking about has changed the game in ways that are not positive and it remains a really hot topic in terms of conversation within that committee,” Manfred said, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The shift has been the subject of potential rule changes for a while. In fact, two years ago, there was some suggestion that there was momentum toward limiting them. That hasn’t happened yet, with MLB pursuing other minor rule changes, such as limiting pitching changes.

Teams have gotten very good at shifting and positioning to take away hits and limit offense. Left-handed pull hitters have been particularly vulnerable. It’s not clear what banning the shift would look like, and whether players would be limited to specific positions or simply given a range of areas they can play in. What’s clear is that the discussion is at least on the table.

Rob Manfred pushing for Blue Jays to play in Toronto in 2021

Rob Manfred

It’s not clear if the Toronto Blue Jays will be able to return to their home city in 2021. Major League Baseball is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring that about.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he’s hopeful of convincing the Canadian government that it will be safe for the Blue Jays to play games in Toronto even if restrictions continue into 2021.

“The one thing I can say is that we will do everything humanly possible to convince the government that the Blue Jays should play in Toronto next year,” Manfred told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

It’s a question that likely won’t be answered for a while. It largely depends on where the pandemic stands early next year. The Canadian government cited travel from high-risk areas as the major factor behind keeping the team from playing in Toronto in 2020. That will likely have to change before the Blue Jays are allowed to play home games. Either that, or both the government and the league will have to explore creative options to make things work.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen apologizes to Rob Manfred over leaked video

Brodie Van Wagenen

New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen covered for Rob Manfred and instead said his boss was to blame for the idea he criticized.

The Mets were trying to decide how to handle Thursday’s game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. According to what was shown in a leaked video, Van Wagenen said that Manfred suggested having players come out for symbolic gestures and then return to the field an hour later. Van Wagenen was critical of the suggestion and said that Manfred just didn’t get it.

After the video was leaked online, Van Wagenen issued a statement to clarify things. Van Wagenen said that he misunderstood and that it was Mets owner Jeff Wilpon who made the suggestion, not Manfred. Van Wagenen also apologized in the statement.

“Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play. They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later. I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner’s idea. In actuality, this was Jeff’s suggestion. The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful. My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon,” Van Wagenen said in a statement.

If you watched the video, it’s very hard to think that Van Wagenen got his facts wrong. He was very much speaking with certainty about events that had unfolded that day.

The Mets owners are selling the team, while Manfred remains the league’s commissioner. All parties probably agreed to try cleaning up the situation by dumping it onto the person selling the team.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen rips commissioner Rob Manfred in leaked video

Rob Manfred

New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen ripped MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday in a video that leaked online.

In the video, Van Wagenen is heard talking about a supposed proposal from Manfred about playing Thursday.

“Baseball’s trying to come up with a solution, ‘you know what would be super powerful? You know it would be really great if you have them all take the field. Then they leave the field. Then they come back and play at 8:10,'” Van Wagenen says Manfred suggested.

Van Wagenen said that Manfred wanted to play because “scheduling is going to be a nightmare … there’s so much at stake.”

“That’s Rob’s instinct. At the leadership level, he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it,” Van Wagenen says in response to Manfred’s ideas.

Six MLB games were not played on Thursday in response to the movement the Milwaukee Bucks began on Wednesday when refusing to play, citing the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday night. The Mets and Marlins were set to play on Thursday.

The Reds and Brewers, Giants and Dodgers, and Padres and Mariners all had doubleheaders after not playing on Wednesday. The Pirates and Cardinals also played a doubleheader on Thursday.

Manfred, 61, has been the MLB commissioner since 2015. He has taken on plenty of criticism over the years, and this adds on to it.

Trevor Bauer criticizes Rob Manfred for comments about player responsibility

Trevor Bauer

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer continues to not be a big fan of commissioner Rob Manfred.

On Saturday, after Manfred said that the season would continue, but “players need to be better” in terms of observing health and safety protocols. This didn’t sit well with Bauer, who felt that Manfred was throwing players under the bus and pinning too much responsibility on them.

Most teams and players do appear to be working hard to follow Manfred’s guidelines. There’s a lot of anger at one team that seemingly failed to do so.

Bauer has long been an outspoken critic of Manfred on many issues. He also doesn’t want the players getting blamed if the season does not go as planned.