Rob Manfred was hit with a cold dose of reality following Game 6 of the World Series: Baseball fans are not on his side.
As the commissioner began speaking during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series trophy ceremony, those remaining from the 11,437 fans in attendance quickly showered him with boos. The response seemed to legitimately stun Manfred, even forcing him to pause for several seconds before continuing.
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) October 28, 2020
It wasn’t just a chilly welcome, either. The boos continued throughout Manfred's speech, which also raised eyebrows due to its at times slow and seemingly slurred delivery. Manfred later confirmed that the issue was not health-related, but rather due to an audio delay echoing through Globe Life Field.
I reached out to Rob Manfred after the game and he said he is fine. The in-stadium audio caused a delay but he is healthy and delighted with the efforts of all to get through it
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) October 28, 2020
A similar issue occurred during an appearance on opening day in 2019.
While it’s good news Manfred is healthy, it’s bad news for baseball that he’s striking out with fans.
Since taking office in January 2015, Manfred’s approval rating has steadily declined as he’s implemented pace-of-play rules changes and talked of permanently expanding the postseason. This year, it plummeted amid a less-than-forthright negotiation process with the MLBPA leading up to the league’s abbreviated 60-game schedule.
MLB’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has also been met with mixed reviews. The season moved forward and was completed despite two early-season outbreaks that seemed like legitimate causes to shut it all down. As Manfred was touting the league’s success powering through the pandemic on Tuesday night, it was revealed that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner had tested positive.
Turner, who was pulled from the game during the eighth inning, was later seen celebrating with teammates, without a facemask. That’s not a great look for the league.
Of course, Dodgers fans still hold resentment over Manfred’s handling of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, which concluded with no players being punished. Perhaps it was a perfect storm that contributed to Tuesday’s overwhelmingly negative response. But the harsh reality seems to be that Manfred has lost the faith of baseball’s most dedicated fans.
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