New York Yankees: Rob Manfred Strikes Out in 2020
By Scott Roche
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has dropped the ball big time in 2020, not once, not twice, but THREE times.
Just when Rob Manfred couldn’t imagine 2020 getting any worse for him, it did on Monday. Manfred sent a message on ESPN to the Major League Baseball Players’ Association claiming that he won’t implement a season unless they agree not to file a grievance. That’s laughable, and represents Manfred covering up for the billion-dollar owners yet again.
Manfred has whiffed on so much in the first five and half months of 2020 it’s sickening. In January, he totally botched the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation, one of the more blatant cheating scandals that the league has had, and a situation which he ignored for years. It took a former player on the team, Mike Fiers, to speak out publicly for Manfred to do something.
In their findings, it was determined that the Astros used cameras to steal signs and relayed them by banging on trash cans, helping to win the World Series in 2017. With an opportunity to lower the hammer, Manfred suspended Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season. They were also fined $5 million and forfeited their first- and second-round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Luhnow and Hinch were fired after the suspensions were announced, but no players received any punishment because they were given immunity for their cooperation. While that punishment was the most severe that MLB has handed out, it doesn’t seem like enough.
In April, Manfred announced the punishment for the video sign-stealing allegations against the Boston Red Sox from the 2018 World Series championship season was a slap on the wrist. They lost their 2020 second-round draft pick in last week’s first-year draft and their video replay person, who was at the center of the sign-stealing, was suspended for this season and 2021 in a useless 15-page report. According to the report, Red Sox manager Alex Cora and the team’s players did not know about what was going on. Seriously?
Cora was fired by the Red Sox in January because of his role in the Astros’ 2017 scandal when he was Houston’s bench coach under Hinch. So Cora goes to Boston the following year, they win the World Series, they have a video guy stealing signs, and he doesn’t know anything about it? That’s extremely laughable.
Then on Monday, Manfred hit the lowest point of his tenure as the commish. That’s three totally mishandled opportunities for Manfred, featuring him single-handedly ruining the game. A puppet for the owners, he should be trying to get the two sides to the table to talk it out and come to an agreement instead of making threats against the players on the owners’ behalf. New York Yankees fans want to see Gerrit Cole on the mound, even if it’s only for 48 games.
Instead, we’re left with a circus. I can only imagine what will be in store for the sport after the 2021 season when the current CBA expires. Buckle up, it’s going to get uglier down the line.