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Monday, February 17, 2020

Rob Manfred offers little insight, shows contempt for reporters in press conference

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at a press conference, addressing the Astros cheating scandal and other topics on Sunday evening. It did not go well.

To start, the press conference was not broadcast officially on MLB’s own TV channel (it aired the 1988 movie Bull Durham instead), nor could any mention to it or link to the live stream be found anywhere on MLB.com. When the actual questions began, Manfred’s answers were circuitous or simply illogical given other comments he has made in the past. On more than one occasion, he showed contempt for reporters for doing their jobs — and, some might argue, doing his job — holding players and front office personnel accountable.

Last month, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal broke a story about the Astros’ “dark arts” and “Codebreaker” operation, based on a letter Manfred sent to then-GM Jeff Luhnow. Diamond was among the reporters present for Manfred’s press conference on Sunday. Per The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler, Manfred addressed Diamond, saying, “You know, congratulations. You got a private letter that, you know, I sent to a club official. Nice reporting on your part.” MLB’s response to the depth of the Astros’ cheating ways was lacking and, without Diamond’s reporting, we would have known how deeply lacking that response was. It is understandable that Manfred would be salty about it, since it exposed him as doing his job poorly, but it was an immature, unrestrained response from someone in charge of the entire league.

Onto the actual topic at hand, Manfred said he felt like the punishment doled out to the Astros was enough. Per Chris Cotillo, Manfred said Astros players “have been hurt by this” and will forever be questioned about their achievements in 2017 and ’18. Some players disagree. Former pitcher Phil Hughes even suggested the players have a work stoppage over this issue.

So, what does Manfred have to do at this point before the owners decide it isn’t worth it to keep him around?

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 120 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bad ideas, press conferences, rob manfred

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   101. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:09 PM (#5925218)
There is an interesting question here, though. Are the Astros better off for having done it and later gotten caught than if they had never done it in the first place?
As Tennyson said, 'tis better to have banged and lost then never to have banged at all.
   102. SoSH U at work Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:14 PM (#5925219)
I feel Lance was at least somewhat singled out. He was made the face of steroids in cycling, kind of like Bonds in baseball, in order to distract from the fact that pretty much everyone was doping at the time.


Did that treatment have anything to do with the way he kind of went laid waste to anyone who claimed he was doping? As I recall, he was like the Astros, if the Astros had been far less sympathetic characters.
   103. Mike A Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:11 PM (#5925233)
Did that treatment have anything to do with the way he kind of went laid waste to anyone who claimed he was doping? As I recall, he was like the Astros, if the Astros had been far less sympathetic characters.
Yeah, that's certainly a fair point. Armstrong was a jackass to anyone who suggested he was doping, even messing up lives along the way. And like Bonds, Lance was pretty easy to hate due to his arrogance about the whole matter. The Astros are also looking like a fair comparison. But we're still getting into arbitrary territory here.

Still, Armstrong would probably have been better served if he reiterated the words of multiple TdF winner Jacques Anquetil: "Leave me in peace; everybody takes dope."
   104. Jay Z Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:18 PM (#5925234)
There is an interesting question here, though. Are the Astros better off for having done it and later gotten caught than if they had never done it in the first place?


To date, if they got anything of value from their cheating, it's a huge win for them.

Flags fly forever. A few million, a few draft picks are well worth the price. Managers and GMs are fungible. They all get fired sooner or later, it's the best if they actually got you a flag or two during their time. Whatever the price.

If you rob the bank, and you get caught, it was my thought generally that if you had the money in possession, you're required to give it back. So you don't actually get rewarded for your crime.

The flag is something that can be given back, via vacating it. Otherwise, I guess the lesson is that cheating pays and there should be more of it.
   105. Zach Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:27 PM (#5925237)
A majority of the Tour De France winners (65%-75%) from 1961-2011 were caught doping or were under serious suspicion of doping. The list includes many who are still held in high regard today: Eddy Merckx, Laurent Fignon, Bernard Hinault, etc, etc. But only Lance had his titles retroactively taken away, which seems odd to me.

Yeah, cycling is tough because blood doping offers an *enormous* advantage relative to the natural spread of ability.

The average hematocrit (fraction of blood devoted to red blood cells -- basically, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood) is something like 40%. Before they could test for EPO, they tested for hematocrit and drew the line at 50%, which is where everybody competed. That's a 20% advantage! And before they started testing for hematocrit, some people were competing at 60%.

The fastest time on the Alpe d'Huez by someone who is *not* credibly accused of doping would not be remotely competitive in the EPO years.
   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 10:13 PM (#5925258)
Not exactly the same thing, but I have often seen it said that a higher likelihood of being caught (assuming some reasonable level of punishment), is a more effective deterrent to crime than having draconian punishments for those who do get caught.

It's clearly a balance. A 0.01% chance of an awful punishment won't deter anyone from a crime, and a 50% chance of 6 months in the luxury hotels Scandinavians call prisons won't deter anyone either.
   107. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 19, 2020 at 01:27 AM (#5925271)
The flag is something that can be given back, via vacating it. Otherwise, I guess the lesson is that cheating pays and there should be more of it.


The flag has been taken away, by both public and professional opinion, not technically, but in terms of any sense of its legitimacy. Whevever it's mentioned, the cheating will be mentioned--and it will be mentioned more often without having been vacated. It's a fantasy to think that even the Astros players themselves can shut themselves off from everyone else and believe that they won it fair and square. They're part of a wider baseball world. They can't talk about the title without this incident being the main focus. The franchise can't market itself as 2017 champions without being derided for doing so. It is a big part of the punishment that they brought on themselves. Rob Manfred had neither the power to impose it nor the power to prevent it from being imposed--it was self-inflicted and can't be lifted.
   108. Eddo Posted: February 19, 2020 at 04:07 AM (#5925274)
I totally agree with Dr. Vaux in #107.
   109. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2020 at 08:36 AM (#5925282)
It's a fantasy to think that even the Astros players themselves can shut themselves off from everyone else and believe that they won it fair and square.
If that’s the case, the Astros players seem to have thoroughly bought into this ‘fantasy.’
   110. homerwannabee Posted: February 19, 2020 at 08:50 AM (#5925287)
I'm going to be in the extreme minority here. Ironically this is a great thing to happen to baseball. Why? Because you have the real deal bad guy team. Attendance when the Astros visit a team will be way up. TV numbers when the Astros play will be way up. Yeah, the Yankees have had the great villain card for a better part of a century now, but that was more of a hatred of their tremendous success, and their arrogant fanbase.
But the Astros are the bad guys. Fan involvement is going to be up. People will have happy days simply knowing the Astros had lost that day. Floyd Mayweather has played the bad guy boxer for over two decades, and made a ton of money doing it from people wanting to see him lose so badly.
   111. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 19, 2020 at 09:16 AM (#5925295)
Was Mayweather winning his fights with brass knucks taped under his gloves? Throwing rabbit punches? Headbutting?
   112. Hot Wheeling American Posted: February 19, 2020 at 09:22 AM (#5925298)
Was Mayweather winning his fights with brass knucks taped under his gloves?

How about in plain sight?
   113. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 19, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5925316)
That was awesome, HWA!
   114. Lassus Posted: February 19, 2020 at 10:48 AM (#5925319)
and a 50% chance of 6 months in the luxury hotels Scandinavians call prisons won't deter anyone either.
U.S. incarceration rates are the highest in the world, about 10 times those throughout Scandinavia, which are among the world’s lowest.
Norway's incarceration rate is 72 per every 100,000 people compared to America's 693 per 100,000 people. Norway also has the world's lowest recidivism rate at 20 percent, while America sees 75 percent of its prisoners re-offend within five years of release.
   115. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5925361)
Lance is the only TdF to lose titles because: over the top doping, enormous ass to everyone, tried to ruin people who called him out, complete lack of remorse, and he is an American dominating the French race.
   116. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 19, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5925378)
Apologetic Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. on the other teams' critics:
“They're going to have to play us. Except for the guys who are popping off the most. Those guys aren’t going to have to face us, which is maybe why they feel like they can speak like that. But we’re moving on. That’s not what people may want to hear, but we stood here as men and we addressed it. ...We’re just looking forward to playing baseball again.”

Remorseful Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, also yesterday:
“At some point, you have to move on and not give a shit. We're going to go out there and win and shut everybody up.”
   117. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2020 at 12:34 PM (#5925382)
we stood here as men and we addressed it
Did ya, Lance?
   118. jmurph Posted: February 19, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5925383)
Good effort Lassus (114), but American commitment to extremely barbaric prison conditions, over the top sentencing, capital punishment, etc., is philosophical/religious. They didn't reason their way into this.
   119. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: February 19, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5925386)
Put another way, rehabilitation isn't the point - the system actively works against it.
   120. Ron J Posted: February 19, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5925389)
#115 Jan Ullrich was retroactively stripped of his results from 2005-2007
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