It wouldn’t be dramatic to say that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may be the most hated commissioner in all of sports. What’s stranger is some baseball fans genuinely think Manfred doesn’t like the sport and in a recent interview, he was plainly asked if he hates baseball.
“It is the most ridiculous thing, among some fairly ridiculous things that get said about me,” Manfred told ESPN. “The assertion that I hate the game—that one does rub me the wrong way, I have to tell you the truth.”
A specific moment where Manfred looked like the cartoon villain fans have made him out to be was during the lockout this past offseason. Before he announced that the first two series of the season were being canceled, he smiled at the podium as cameras broadcasted the grim affair.
“I’m getting killed out there,” he said on the ensuing outrage.
The 63-year-old explained that he smiled because he was just being friendly toward a reporter who approached to place a recording device on the podium just as he was looking for somewhere to lay his notes.
But Manfred has gotten flack for countless things throughout his career, the most recent being his desire for rule changes in baseball—a sport where its fans are notoriously against change. Ultimately, changes like a pitch clock or “ghost runners” are meant to speed up one of the slowest games in all of sports.
“Yeah, here’s the problem,” Manfred said. “When you acknowledge there’s something wrong with the game, that turns you into a hater of baseball.”
Regardless of what he says, it will likely be a while before Manfred wins any popularity contests.
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