The Major League Baseball Commissioner has continually created new reasons for supporters, coaches and athletes to despise his tenure. This was proven again last week when Rob Manfred made statements regarding the World Series Trophy, expressing that its value doesn’t extend further than a piece of metal. For the hundreds of players in Major League Baseball and millions of supporters worldwide, this trophy is an iconic element of the sport. It prompted an immediate backlash against commercial audiences and MLB athletes, with Manfred having to explain that it was a rhetorical point and that his statements were mistaken.
The “Piece of Metal” statements made by Rob Manfred followed at an interview with Karl Rayech, where reporters asked how the commissioner thought of the 2017 World Series Trophy. Most aren’t accounting for the fact that Rob Manfred’s statements related to the Houston Astros, where our commissioner isn’t incorrect. The Houston Astros using sign-stealing protocols to acquire their championship trophy should be legally disputed. It’d result in the 2019 World Series Trophy being nothing more than a piece of metal. This same interview saw the commissioner announce that in-game video access would be drastically restricted in the upcoming 2020 season.
When speaking about the recent scandal with ESPN News, Rob Manfred praised Mike Fiers from Oakland. This praise followed after Fiers stood as one of the main whistleblowers towards the Houston Astros scandalous actions. The commissioner mentioned that every step possible would be taken to ensure Mike Fiers is protected when playing going forward, regardless of the location. This Oakland pitcher has received countless death threats that extend to his family, leaving Rob Manfred concerned for his safety.
The Backlash for Manfred
Rob Manfred displayed characteristics of a genuine commissioner this week, with the sport-wide backlash being unnecessary. One of the most notable athletes to speak out against Manfred’s trophy statements was Justin Turner, a Third Basemen for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He expressed that Rob Manfred hasn’t ever won anything in his life and doesn’t realize that every MLB athlete is getting up early, training in the off-season and maintaining extended camps to obtain that trophy.
Justin finished those statements by mentioning all their efforts are for something called the Commissioner’s Trophy, which should be honoured by Manfred. Additional players like Jon Lester from the Chicago Cubs demanded that Manfred remove the commissioner’s title with this trophy until he resigns, with these being considered the most disrespectful comments made by MLB paid-athletes this week.