MLB News and Rumors: Why is Commissioner Rob Manfred so disliked?

William Parlee

Outside of some of the MLB umpires, Commissioner Rob Manfred is one of the most disliked people in baseball, and there is good reason for that. Fans believe he has mishandled his job and is terrible for baseball. Fans can’t point to anything he’s has done for the game since he took over for Alan “Bud” Selig, who manned the position for over seventeen years. Fans that don’t like him point out:

  • Since he took over MLB and the players union, they have more strained relations.
  • He once called the World Series trophy just a piece of metal.
  • His handling of the Astros cheating scandal was abysmal. There was no striping of the World Series title, and no players were held accountable or suspended.
  • He cost the city of Atlanta and its economy over $100 million dollars when he abruptly moved the All-Star game of out Atlanta based on political considerations.
  • His pettiness has caused the loss of one of the most respected journalists.
  • His handling of the present CBA has been hands-off except for mandating a lockdown that halted any transactions.

By their very nature of being a union against the employer, the owners and players association are going to be contentious. But you would think Rob Manfred would have worked toward better relations, something he has not done. Considering Manfred’s law degree and Bachelors in industrial and Labor Relations, received at Cornell University, you would assume that he would be the absolute best man for the job, but he has been the opposite.

He seems to have a disrespect for the game. Can you image a commissioner of a sport calling its highest reward just a piece of metal? Regarding not taking the championship away from the Astros, he spit in the face of all baseball fans by proclaiming that the World Series trophy is “just a piece of metal.” Fans on social media were fuming over that proclamation made on February 15, 2020.

Fans, particularly New York Yankee fans, were furious over his handling of the Astros cheating scandal that may have cost the Yankees a World Series appearance and slugger Aaron Judge, the Rookie of the Year Award. After a thorough investigation, MLB proclaimed that the Houston Astros did cheat during the 2017 season, including the postseason. Manfred’s answer to that was to suspend the manager and general manager for a season. However, he did not strip them of the title, ask for the trophy or rings back, and hold players accountable.

After the players and owners could not come to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the deadline of December 1, without missing a beat, he instituted a lockdown halting all major league transactions when talks could have continued. Since then, he has not shown any leadership in getting those talks started again. In fact, there presently aren’t even any talks scheduled when spring training is only weeks away.

To show his pettiness, he has probably gotten one of the most exemplary sports journalists kicked off of MLB.com. Ken Rosenthal is one of the most likable and most respected baseball reporters. He has worked for MLB.com for 12 years, gaining fans and peers alike. Back in 2020, Rosenthal mentioned some things he didn’t like about how Manfred handled the start of the short season. As a result, he was suspended for a short time. His contract with MLB.com was over upon the completion of the 2021 season. MLB.com would not renew his contract reportedly over Rosenthal’s comments. It’s hard to believe a lawyer has such thin skin.

“Can confirm MLB Network has decided not to bring me back. I’m grateful for the more than 12 years I spent there and my enduring friendships with on-air personalities, producers, and staff. I always strove to maintain my journalistic integrity, and my work reflects that.”

Luckily for fans, he will still broadcast for the FOX Sports Network and continue his excellent journalism at the Athletic. So what social media says about the two men is really all you need to know.

Retired Yankee Broadcaster and Baltimore Oriole great Ken Singleton has this to say about the situation:

Ken Rosenthal has been an excellent writer and reporter on all things baseball since covering the Orioles years years ago in Baltimore. For the MLB Network to let him go is terribly shortsighted and reduces the credibility of the whole product.