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Manfred Is Thinking About It Newsbeat

Friday, March 27, 2020

Rob Manfred says MLB is finished investigating Red Sox for alleged sign-stealing in 2018

Major League Baseball was supposed to kick off the 2020 season on Thursday, March 26. Unfortunately, the spread of the novel coronavirus has delayed Opening Day until later in the year, depending on the effectiveness of various containment measures imposed across the country. It is unknown at this point if there will be a season or what it will entail.

Given how much uncertainty commissioner Rob Manfred is dealing with, it’s understandable that he hasn’t found time to address some lingering business from the time before COVID-19, such as authoring the league’s report on the Boston Red Sox’s alleged technological misconduct during their championship 2018 season. Basically, the Red Sox are accused of stealing signs by using their replay room in a violation of the league rules.

Manfred addressed that topic (among others) with Scott Van Pelt on “SportsCenter.” “We are done with the investigation,” he said. “There’s been a delay in terms of producing a written report, just because I, frankly, have not had time to turn to it with the other issues. But we will get a Boston report out before we resume play.”

What do we make of this explanation?

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, investigations, manfred is thinking about it, red sox

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Six Modest Proposals: A Reply to Rob Manfred

(Co-author’s Note: Despite my name alone being displayed under the title, and the viewpoint the text will assume, this article is a collaboration with my friend and occasional THT contributor Paul Golba. The ideas originate mainly with him; the writing originates with me.)

Nobody can accuse Rob Manfred of being unwilling to try fresh ideas. In an offseason that already saw several rules changes to MLB, the Commissioner floated a proposal for a massive change to the sport’s playoff structure. The plan reportedly won raves from television networks that might be in a position to air games from the augmented playoff schedule, as well as from MLB Network’s Bob Costas. Reaction from actual fans has been decidedly more mixed.

In Manfred’s plan, there would be three division winners and four Wild Cards in each league. The team with the best record in each league would have a first-round bye. The second-best division winner would then choose its first-round opponent from the three lowest Wild Cards, followed by the remaining division winner getting next choice. (These choices would be made on a live broadcast.) The top Wild Card would get the leftover opponent. The teams would play best-of-three series, with the higher seed hosting all three games. The winners would join the bye teams in the League Division round, and the postseason would proceed as it does now.

Matt Swartz made a prompt reply to the Manfred proposal on our pages, offering his ideas for how to run an expanded playoff system. That article was still in the future, though, when I had my first discussion of the matter with Paul Golba, my frequent co-Grand Tourist and periodic co-author. We shared a dislike for the scheme, though not everything it proposed rubbed either of us the wrong way.

Rob Manfred is willing to consider eating Irish children as a solution to any and all problems concerning Major League Baseball.

QLE Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:29 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: double duty, final four, manfred is thinking about it, nascar, playoffs, soccer

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Manfred apologizes for calling WS trophy a ‘piece of metal’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for what he called a disrespectful reference to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”

Even before being asked about it, Manfred said he made a mistake with those comments while trying to deliver a rhetorical point in an interview two days earlier.

“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred said. “There’s no excuse for it. ... It was a mistake to say what I said.”

MLB players, already upset with Manfred’s handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and some of his comments in trying to explain it, became further infuriated by his “piece of metal” comment during a lengthy interview with ESPN on Sunday, the same day he spoke in Florida.

Somewhere, the Commissioner’s Trophy sits, plotting its revenge.

 

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: manfred is thinking about it, world series trophy

Friday, February 07, 2020

Manfred concerned with team/media roles of Martinez, Mendoza

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The dual roles of former Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez and ex-Olympic softball player Jessica Mendoza as team employees and broadcasters have drawn the concern of baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Martinez is a Red Sox special assistant and an analyst for TBS. Mendoza is a New York Mets baseball operations adviser and an ESPN broadcaster.

Both criticized pitcher Mike Fiers for revealing the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scam to The Athletic. Fiers, now with Oakland, sparked an investigation that led to the departures of 10% of the major league managers: Houston’s AJ Hinch, Boston’s Alex Cora and the Mets’ Carlos Beltrán.

“I’m a transparency guy,” Manfred said Thursday after an owners meeting. “That someone should be kind of singled out because they saw something that was wrong and decided to talk about it, I don’t agree with that.”

Which, knowing Manfred, means he’ll hem and haw about this for months and then ultimately do nothing.

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasters, jessica mendoza, manfred is thinking about it, pedro martinez

MLB: Montreal sharing plan ’100 percent’ best way to keep Rays in Tampa Bay

ORLANDO — Major League Baseball officials and owners now see the season-sharing plan with Montreal proposed by the Rays as the best way — “100 percent” — to keep a team, albeit part time, in the Tampa Bay market, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.

“People continue to believe that the two-city alternative they’re exploring is viable and could be a really good solution for keeping baseball in Tampa Bay,’’ Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times after a scheduled owners meeting.

“I continue to be impressed by the energy that they’ve devoted to the project. And to the fact there is significant receptivity among our group, and excitement in some quarters about the possibility.’‘

Manfred said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg had made a strong case to the owners, which mirrors the comments team officials have made publicly about the Montreal plan being their primary focus.

There’s no way that this idea isn’t going to backfire on everyone involved, is there?

 

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:54 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, manfred is thinking about it, montreal, rays

Monday, February 03, 2020

Despite all of the new rules changes, baseball’s real issues will go unsolved

The Super Bowl is today. Yes, you’re still reading our baseball site. Don’t worry. What I mean by pointing out that the Super Bowl is today is that once the final pass is thrown and the last knee is taken, we’ll be in the nascent hours of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers are just around the corner. Baseball will be upon us, and with it will come all of the complications that baseball seems to revel in.

What are those complications, though? That depends on who you ask.

Let’s ask Rob Manfred. As the league’s commissioner, Manfred has been good at keeping busy. When he’s not getting into blistering PR wars with Minor League Baseball, Manfred enjoys futzing around with the game’s rules and begrudgingly telling the owners he works for to stop acting out. A three batter minimum here, a little allowing Jim Crane to look like the good guy there. When he’s feeling particularly frisky, he might even set up a recurring series of games in London at a venue that makes Coors Field look like a pitcher’s paradise. It’s hard work but someone’s got to do it. And hey, baseball just enjoyed record revenues! By what the owners judge to be the most important metric of all, the bottom line, he’s doing his job.

What Manfred doesn’t seem particularly interested in is the actual main issue plaguing the sport. The institution of baseball doesn’t seem to be all that interested in the game of baseball. The league and the owners care much more about short-term profit than they do about the health of the game. That may feel like a harsh claim, but there are increasingly fewer reasons to feel otherwise.

A consideration of leadership, or a lack thereof…..

 

QLE Posted: February 03, 2020 at 12:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: manfred is thinking about it, rule changes, the sky is falling

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Why anger is boiling behind the scenes about Houston Astros’ sign-stealing punishments

The kneecapping of the Houston Astros went off Monday in exquisite fashion. Big names were fired. Draft picks were revoked. A record fine was levied. Pounds of flesh were exacted from egregious cheaters. The optics worked. The Astros’ comeuppance was here, and it was severe. Major League Baseball was righting an obvious wrong.

As the day rolled on and people around baseball pondered exactly what had happened, a less obvious version of the story emerged. It was all so tidy, all so clean, so carefully orchestrated and meticulously calibrated—like something the Astros, ever lauded for their efficiency and ruthlessness, might concoct.

Gone were general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, first suspended by the league for a year, then fired by owner Jim Crane, even as MLB’s investigation into Houston’s sign-stealing scheme determined it was “player-driven.” Gone too were their first- and second-round draft picks for 2020 and 2021, painful but not crippling. And that record fine? All of $5 million, couch-cushion change for every owner in baseball—and the most commissioner Rob Manfred can levy under the MLB constitution, which speaks to the limitations of the position.

It is a job of extreme compromise, of politicking, of figuring out how to appease the 30 billionaires who are his bosses, and Manfred’s handling of the cheating scandal—the biggest of his commissionership so far and one that cut to the heart of the game’s integrity—offered remarkable insight into how he runs the sport. As much as MLB played the big, bad monolith in delivering the ruinous news from on high, this was not some unilateral punishment for the Astros. It was a sneak peek inside the sausage factory of power and the anger that Crane’s relative acquittal caused across the league.

There are things that could be said about this- problem is, I’d probably get screamed at for saying them…..

 

QLE Posted: January 15, 2020 at 01:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, executives, jim crane, manfred is thinking about it

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Rob Manfred: MLB ‘Absolutely’ Will Implement New Protocols by Opening Day to Prevent Cheating

After recent sign-stealing scandals in Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred made clear new protocols will be implemented by Opening Day to prevent cheating.

During an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, Manfred said he has considered not making video rooms available to teams once games start. The only monitor available to a team could be a replay screen with an MLB security official standing next to it.

“That’s the first path,” he said. “It is an option. We have talked about it. We are not done on 2020 [protocols], no.”

When asked if more protocols will be in place by the start of the 2020 season, Manfred replied, “Absolutely.”

Wouldn’t it be easier to remove all monitors from positions where teams could have access and have replay conducted by extra officials in the press box?

QLE Posted: January 14, 2020 at 01:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cheating, manfred is thinking about it

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Manfred: MLB `flexible’ on minor league cuts, irked by talks

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred countered outcry over Major League Baseball’s proposal to chop 42 farm teams by challenging the minors Wednesday to “move off the take-it-or-leave-it status quo approach” to their ongoing negotiations.

MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues are negotiating a minor league agreement to replace the contract expiring after the 2020 season. MLB has proposed cutting more than a quarter of its 160 affiliates, citing concerns over the quality of facilities, travel and salaries for players.

Minor League President Pat O’Conner delivered an impassioned speech defending the minors to team executives at these winter meetings, and fans from small towns across the country have been outraged to see their teams listed as being on the chopping block. Manfred has even been roasted on Twitter by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Manfred said MLB “will remain flexible” in negotiations and is asking the NAPBL to do the same.

Every generation gets the Bowie Kuhn it deserves….

 

QLE Posted: December 12, 2019 at 01:14 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Whitewash: Rob Manfred says he doesn’t think sign stealing extends beyond the Astros

Rob Manfred said today that he believes the sign-stealing scandal which has taken over the news in the past week does not extend beyond the Houston Astros. His exact words, via Jeff Passan of ESPN:

“Right now, we are focused on the information that we have with respect to the Astros. I’m not going to speculate on whether other people are going to be involved. We’ll deal with that if it happens, but I’m not going to speculate about that. I have no reason to believe it extends beyond the Astros at this point in time.”

This is simply incredible. As in literally not credible.

It’s not credible because, just last week, in the original story in The Athletic, it was reported that the Astros system was set up by two players, one of whom was “a hitter who was struggling at the plate and had benefited from sign stealing with a previous team, according to club sources . . . they were said to strongly believe that some opposing teams were already up to no good. They wanted to devise their own system in Houston. And they did.”

Commentary on a current scandal, by a long-time site associate.

 

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:58 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, manfred is thinking about it, sign-stealing

Monday, November 18, 2019

Rob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball

As if they aren’t squarely involved in enough transgressions against baseball, we should not be at all surprised to know the Houston Astros — the Jeff Luhnow Houston Astros — were the ringleaders of the MLB plan to essentially destroy grass roots baseball and contract 42 of the 160 minor league teams.

In recent weeks, details of the plan have been slowly leaking out, the MLB spin being it’s designed to (1) upgrade all the minor league facilities and (2) improve “wellness” for the minor leaguers in terms of travel and living conditions. In truth, as always, it’s designed to save money, lots of money, and the proprietors of these minor league teams, many of whom have their life savings invested in them, be damned.

Here is the plan which is slated to go into effect beginning in 2021:

1. Forty-two of the 160 minor league teams (26%) guaranteed under the present, expiring Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors will be eliminated, most of them from the four short season Rookie Leagues — the New York-Penn, Appalachian, Northwest and Pioneer.

An update to a subject we’ve discussed earlier, with further details.

QLE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:08 AM | 188 comment(s)
  Beats: contraction, manfred is thinking about it, minor leagues

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

MLB commissioner says automated strike zone an option when ‘time is right’

An automated strike zone could be inching closer to becoming a reality in Major League Baseball.

In a recent appearance on MLB Network, commissioner Rob Manfred stated that the technology used for the automated strike zone was due for a large upgrade this winter and that further testing and preparation will take place during the 2020 season.

The goal? Get everyone as comfortable with the system as possible so that the MLB can comfortably implement an automated system when the “time is right.”

Mind you, Manfred being who he is, this could very well mean “never”.....

 

QLE Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:23 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: automated strike zone, manfred is thinking about it

 

 

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