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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Baseball fans’ biggest problem with Rob Manfred? He doesn’t appear to be one of them

Now he is pushing to expand the postseason on a permanent basis. How many teams, Rob? Sixteen? Twenty-four? Everyone except the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox? (Manfred claims he grew up a New York Yankees fan.)

He also is considering continuing the ridiculous runner on second base rule in extra innings. Is this Little League? If a game isn’t over after 12 innings, should each team pick a batter for a Home Run Derby? That would be fun, right? It wouldn’t be baseball, but who cares?

At least there won’t be seven-inning doubleheader games — but that has more to do with owners wanting to charge separate admissions when weather forces two games in a day.

Manfred doesn’t have the fortitude to insist on a pitch clock and other serious measures to help the pace of play, but if any gimmicks can make the owners more money (expanded playoffs) or inject artificial excitement into the game (second base rule), he’s all for them.

It’s enough to make real baseball fans miss Selig. For all of his flaws, it was clear he loved the same sport they did.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:45 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rob manfred

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 24, 2020 at 12:43 PM (#5984886)
He loves the same thing the owners love: money. Loving baseball is a desirable but unnecessary trait. It’s just a hunk of metal after all.
   2. JRVJ Posted: October 24, 2020 at 01:03 PM (#5984889)
I like 7-inning double headers.
   3. BDC Posted: October 24, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5984894)
In-person attendance fell significantly after the 2008 crash and by as much again after 2016 for some reason. (Or at least, ticket sales did – I suspect, from attending games myself, that the no-show rate went up too and thus real attendance was still lower, but who knows.) Quite possibly any revenue shortfall was made up by revenue from live streams and broadcasts, though. As the game becomes more a virtual instead of an in-person experience (this year being the ultimate test case), game pace ceases to matter. Eyeballs are only going to be increased by longer live transmissions, even if it isn't the same eyeballs throughout; and live sports, as often noted, are one of the few real-time events where you can get people to sit through commercials. So who cares how slow they play: more time for the announcers to mention sponsors between pitches.

That is a cynical view, but as the Duke notes, if they're making money they won't care whether the game is any fun for the fan in the stands.
   4. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 24, 2020 at 01:51 PM (#5984895)
Say what you want about Bud Selig (and he gave plenty of ammunition) but one thing that struck me every time I heard him speak was that he was a genuine baseball fan. The dude loved the game.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 24, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5984899)
That is a cynical view, but as the Duke notes, if they're making money they won't care whether the game is any fun for the fan in the stands.
But they still have to offer an appealing product to the TV/streaming viewer, and between-pitch ads while the players dick around ain’t it. Especially when they apparently can only sell to two or three advertisers, so they’re the same ads over and over again.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: October 24, 2020 at 05:56 PM (#5984911)
I'm sure Manfred would consider becoming a baseball fan.
   7. Jay Z Posted: October 24, 2020 at 06:39 PM (#5984919)
I don't really know where BDC gets the idea that pace of play only matters in person. People have thousands of entertainment options at home. Not three channels like the old days.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 24, 2020 at 06:45 PM (#5984920)
I don't really know where BDC gets the idea that pace of play only matters in person. People have thousands of entertainment options at home. Not three channels like the old days.

Yeah, totally disagree with BDC here. The pace of play is MUCH WORSE on TV than in person. There are lots of eyeballs (including mine) that never watch a minute of post-season games b/c we know it's a 3.5 hours odyssey at the minimum.

Play the same amount of baseball in 2.5 hours, and I bet viewership goes way up. Heck, you could even add another 20-minutes of commercials, and get the game in under 3 hours, and I'd be more likely to watch.

Commercials are much less annoying than between pitch delays. I can do other things during commercials.
   9. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 24, 2020 at 07:29 PM (#5984933)
Re: post #6

Oh, I larfed.
   10. BDC Posted: October 24, 2020 at 08:21 PM (#5984939)
The aesthetics don’t matter, and as TFA suggests, what hardcore fans appreciate doesn’t matter — just that there’s something on with enough devices tuned to it to get TV contracts (or subscribe to treaming deals). There’s a lot of TV that barely qualifies as entertainment, and people tune in ... and unless they stop and that revenue dries up, there is no incentive to improve the product aesthetically.
   11. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 24, 2020 at 08:38 PM (#5984941)
I really do think Baseball could use someone who is passionate AND competent. Peter Ueberroth comes to mind, though he's too old. Dusty Baker, I think, would be a great commissioner - he's old school and new school and has a great perspective on many things, and he's worked successfully for many different organizations, and he loves the game. I am sure there are thousands of Rob Manfred's who'd line up to be the Vice President in charge of operations and negotiating TV agreements, or whatever.

Dusty Baker for Commissioner!
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: October 24, 2020 at 08:43 PM (#5984943)
Manfred tonight:


MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM
@MLBNetworkRadio
"I would not do that going forward."

Rob Manfred confirms we won't see a postseason format like this again.

.....................

(he said, "16 teams is too many.")
   13. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: October 24, 2020 at 09:25 PM (#5984950)
It’s enough to make real baseball fans miss Selig.

It really does. I have several friends who used to despise a certain former president...but they'd take him back in a heartbeat just to get rid of the current one.

Meanwhile, it's 9:24pm...and it's still the freakin' top of the fourth inning!
   14. Jaack Posted: October 24, 2020 at 09:53 PM (#5984956)
I really do think Baseball could use someone who is passionate AND competent. Peter Ueberroth comes to mind, though he's too old. Dusty Baker, I think, would be a great commissioner - he's old school and new school and has a great perspective on many things, and he's worked successfully for many different organizations, and he loves the game. I am sure there are thousands of Rob Manfred's who'd line up to be the Vice President in charge of operations and negotiating TV agreements, or whatever.

Dusty Baker for Commissioner!


I like Dusty, but I doubt he has the ability to control the owners to any degree (this was Selig's best quality), which I think is a pre-requisite for any comissioner to be effective. Stylistically he'd be different from Manfred, but I feel like he'd end up in a similar position where he would be a spokesperson for the owners as opposed to an actual executive type.

If you are going to pull someone from the baseball world, I'd prefer someone who has acted as a chief executive of some sort - someone like Mark Shapiro or Brian Sabean who is passionate about the game, but also has a record of managing a large organization.
   15. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:40 PM (#5985086)
It's obvious that Manfred doesn't see a dime's worth of difference in running MLB or running McDonald's. The question, then, is whether baseball is "just another large multinational corporation" or makes an intrinsic, distinctive contribution to society.

We'd all say the latter; who would do best to bring it out?
   16. dejarouehg Posted: October 25, 2020 at 05:26 AM (#5985212)
He loves the same thing the owners love: money.
as do the players.
   17. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 25, 2020 at 12:48 PM (#5985246)
Maybe Billy Bean would make a good commissioner. He's got experience as both a player and an executive (and very small part owner, I think). Presumably players like the game (Jeff Kent excluded), so presumably he likes the game. With experience on both sides of the isle maybe he could keep the players and owners from collective killing the game after the CBA expires. And he wouldn't even be able to make any more stupid trades!
   18. Jay Seaver Posted: October 25, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5985252)
Part of me wonders if Theo Epstein might like this as his next big challenge - I seem to recall stories that he's maybe not going to be sticking around the Cubs that much longer because he likes the occasional reset - although I also wonder if Epstein might be too much like Manfred in the role. He might just be a Manfred-style good businessman who can speak the language of the fan better.
   19. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 25, 2020 at 03:20 PM (#5985267)
I for some reason never found Billy Beane to be that much of "a fan", being a player as well as a GM always seemed to be kind of a grind for him, which is why the GM job worked better for him because 'grinding it out' works better for a GM job than either being a player or manager. Billy notably rarely watches the games, supposedly because it caused him too much emotional reaction, he would/does instead ride his exercycle in the bowels of the stadium while the game was going on, preferring to look at stats and replays afterwards. Maybe not the best person to be the fan's advocate.

Brian Sabean is an intriguing choice. I think you need someone who can effectively use media and "the voice of the fan" to bully the owners AND the players when their interests conflict with the long-term health of MLB and baseball as a whole.

Billy Beane doesn't watch his team's games

How about Michael Eisner?

Michael Eisner is a huge baseball (and sports in general) fan

   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 25, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5985272)
I really do think Baseball could use someone who is passionate AND competent. Peter Ueberroth comes to mind, though he's too old.
Ueberroth was the instigator of collusion. That should be disqualifying, and temper any belated Selig enthusiasm, too.

Since we’d all like to see owners invest more in pursuit of their team’s on-field success, Hal Steinbrenner for Commissioner!
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 25, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5985312)
Billy notably rarely watches the games, supposedly because it caused him too much emotional reaction, he would/does instead ride his exercycle in the bowels of the stadium while the game was going on, preferring to look at stats and replays afterwards. Maybe not the best person to be the fan's advocate.
”30 seconds between pitches is great! I burn more calories!”
   22. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 25, 2020 at 09:58 PM (#5985345)
@13: they'll be longing for the Trump days after Tucker Carlson is elected in 2028.
   23. OsunaSakata Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:25 PM (#5985684)
Theoretically, there exists a person who the owners will like, who will antagonize the players union, who can threaten municipalities to build new stadiums, and who still loves baseball. However, there is no incentive for the commissioner to be a fan, and be loved by the fans. Heck, Gary Bettman said to Las Vegas fans,"No, keep the booing...that means your officially a real NHL team city!"
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5985687)
Who was the last commissioner in a sport that people liked? People had pretty mixed feelings about David Stern, right? Pete Rozelle maybe? I don't remember if people liked him at the time (I was too young), but people fawn over him now.
   25. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:34 PM (#5985689)
Who was the last commissioner in a sport that people liked? People had pretty mixed feelings about David Stern, right? Pete Rozelle maybe? I don't remember if people liked him at the time (I was too young), but people fawn over him now.


Isn't Adam Silver fairly well liked? I don't follow the NBA closely, but I get the sense that he's popular among the fanbase, primarily because he's seen as being player-friendly and not just a shill for the owners.
   26. jmurph Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5985690)
Isn't Adam Silver fairly well liked?

Absolutely, liked and respected. He earned a lot of good will very early for handling the Donald Sterling situation and has mostly maintained that despite some hiccups.
   27. . Posted: October 27, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5985706)
Better to shill for the owners than to shill for the Chinese government, as Silver does. And his summer wokefest in Orlando, replete with the players wearing such idiocies as "Group Economics" where their nameplates typically are, was resoundingly rejected by huge swaths of the league's fanbase.

Silver is seen as woke, so it gets him a big following amongst the religiously woke types. That combination is typically ... myopic ... in their thought and vision, and we see it pretty clearly here.

(And plus Silver's a shill for the owners as much or more than any other commissioner, but see the sentence immediately above. He kicked out the horrific Donald Sterling, but in the classic words of Derrick Coleman, whoop dee damn doo. As usual, fanboying amongst adults is ... not real becoming.)
   28. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 27, 2020 at 03:10 PM (#5985714)
25 and 26 have it right on Silver. The most blowback he's gotten has been on the China issue.

Stern was the kind of commissioner everyone loved to hate. It's like if Mr. McMahon was running the NBA.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: October 27, 2020 at 03:37 PM (#5985722)
in the classic words of Derrick Coleman, whoop dee damn doo.

love it, as I was one of only a half-dozen or so eyewitnesses to that.

knew it would be immortalized as soon as he said it.

:)
   30. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 27, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5985723)
Most everyone--including the owners--was terrified of David Stern, but I don't think very many people liked him.

Manfred is 62. We've probably got another 15 years of him yet, during which he'll groom his successor as Selig, and Stern, and Paul Tagliabue, groomed theirs. That's how it's done in modern gigaconglomerate sports.

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