Rob Manfred seems paralyzed as more players do the unthinkable, with calls to punish Astros players. U.S. Congressman wants hearings on Capitol Hill.
Commissioner Manfred rued to reporters he was in the midst of a “bad week.” But in the relentless wake of MLB players going head to head with players on the Houston Astros, Manfred should buckle up because he’s about to have a bad month – or more.
Players appear to be lining up to express their anger over Manfred’s decision not to punish individual Astros players who were active participants in the team’s cheating over three years.
Manfred claims he was boxed in by the Player’s Association, which said it would not allow its members to participate in interviews designed to uncover the depth of the cheating – unless there was an immunity agreement.
Discontent Coming From Everywhere
Manfred’s decision to go the route of immunity is proving to be faulty as virtually all of the New York Yankees organization from owner Hal Steinbrenner on down continue to ring the “we was robbed” bell.
On the other side of town, Angels icon Mike Trout, a player with the lowest of profiles, sees blood in the water, saying, “players careers have been affected” throughout the league by the cheaters in Houston.
Commissioner Manfred, take note. If you can’t resolve the uproar from players by (at a minimum) stripping the Astros of the two World Series titles they won under a cloud of cheating, prepare yourself and baseball for the likely intervention of the U.S. Congress.
Manfred: The Drums Are Beating In Washington
Already, there is a letter sitting on the desk of Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Chairwoman Diana DeGette, of Colorado and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection & Commerce Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois.
The letter was sent by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, of Illinois, who says MLB “is in the midst of an ethical crisis.”
This is beginning to eerily sound like the events that took place during the Steroids Era. Remember, Congress has the power to subpoena witnesses, thereby removing the umbrella of safety afforded to players by their Union.
Commissioner Manfred, you don’t want to see Mike Fiers testifying under oath answering the “what did you know and when did you know it?” question.
These things tend to have a life of their own after a while. The wound festers and gets fed almost daily. One day it’s Mike Trout, the next day it’s Bryce Harper. Even Lebron James thought it was a good idea to chime in.
Take the Damn Trophies Back, Will Ya?
His actions or inaction will define Rob Manfred’s legacy as Commissioner of Baseball over the next several weeks. Sitting on his back burner is an announcement regarding the investigation into the Boston Red Sox and the ensuing penalties surrounding his report.
Sounding more like a psychologist than a manager, Aaron Boone believes, It’s “important for players to voice their feelings on the matter, and more guys will arrive and let it fly in the coming days.”
But that’s a slippery slope when the Opening Day for the 2020 season is only a few weeks away.
Time is on the side of no one. Rob Manfred cannot permit the steady trickle of discontent to continue, and certainly not with the “Hand of God” looming in Washington and the threat of a probe by Congress.
Take the damn trophies back. At least, that’s a start, and hopefully, it will be seen as an act of good faith by Manfred to make things right.
Congressman Rush is correct in stating MLB is in a crisis. And the worst thing any leader, in this case, Rob Manfred, can do is to take actions that are reactions – instead of proactive “I Got This” – don’t worry, fans – here’s what we’re going to do…
Rob Manfred, we’re waiting on you.