MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said all the wrong things in the midst of the Oakland Athletics' relocation to Las Vegas, which is shaping up to be one of the more shameful sports business decisions in recent memory.
Instead of doing his best to remain under the radar as the relentless criticism pours in from all baseball fans, Manfred doubled down in the form of an interview with TIME Magazine -- and the publication actually buried the lede here!
Among the many topics discussed, the 2017 Houston Astros came up when Manfred was asked about one particular decision he could have changed. He brought this one totally up himself, so it's not like the interviewer even prodded here for shock value.
Yes, and even more of a valid reason for New York Yankees fans to be enraged! Most were ready to put this all to bed (or already did), but Manfred just breathed unnecessary life into a topic that's far too old to keep dominating headlines.
Rob Manfred enrages Yankees fans with 2017 Astros comments
"There are some decisions that I would like to have back. There’s absolutely no question about that. Some of the decisions surrounding the Houston situation, would like to have those back. I mean, if I could take back the rather flip comment I made about the World Series trophy at one time, I’d take that one back. There have been times, particularly in times of pressure, when I look back, taking a little more time might have led to a different outcome.- Rob Manfred, TIME
I’m not sure that I would have approached it with giving players immunity. Once we gave players immunity, it puts you in a box as to what exactly you were going to do in terms of punishment. I might have gone about the investigative process without that grant of immunity and see where it takes us. Starting with, I’m not going to punish anybody, maybe not my best decision ever."
Very famously, Manfred let the Astros off the hook. He called the World Series trophy a "hunk of metal." He disciplined zero players. He fined a billionaire owner the equivalent of $20 for you and me. He docked the Astros a draft pick (oh man!). He gave AJ Hinch and Alex Cora a short vacation during the 2020 season (their "suspensions"), only for them to waltz back into MLB after a shortened 60-game campaign.
Nobody was asking for the Astros players to be tarred and feathered, banned from the game for life, or even disciplined to the point where it might've altered the trajectory of their careers. Fans just wanted something to be done about a callous group of individuals who blatantly ignored directives from MLB and screwed multiple teams out of a title, most notably the Yankees and Dodgers.
Each and every time we receive new information about the 2017 (and potentially beyond??) scandal, it's more and more jarring, to the point where one can't even fathom how this many people got away with drastically compromising the integrity of the sport.
Manfred let the "court of public opinion" handle the dirty work, which, sure, was kind of fun, but did nothing except have all the Astros players cry about fans being mean to them whenever they were on the road. It got to the point where the Houston players that were selected to subsequent All-Star Games declined the invitation because they couldn't handle hearing boos.
Well, maybe Manfred made his initial decision for a reason, actually. The players probably wouldn't have been able to handle a real punishment. Still, it doesn't make it any better that the commissioner of the sport is now realizing he probably did something wrong in handling one of the biggest sports scandals of all time when the average doof sitting on his couch knew that from the jump.