Rob Manfred continues to publicly manage a game called Who Do You Hate The Most. It’s calculated to drive a wedge between fans and players. Will it Work?
Rob Manfred never forgets he is beholden to the owners of the thirty major league teams. Conservative estimates (it’s a big secret, you know) put his yearly salary at $11 million.
His predecessor, Bud Selig, made $22 million a year, and eventually, Manfred will soon reach that mark as well.
Rob Manfred is not sick, nor has he or any of the owners he represents been afflicted with the coronavirus. Paychecks still arrive on schedule at the Manfred homestead to support his wife, Colleen, and their four children.
Life is good, and Rob Manfred wants to keep it that way. And perhaps, that’s why Manfred felt compelled yesterday during an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN to point out that his benefactors stand to lose $4 billion in revenue this baseball season.
Rob Manfred Swings And Misses In This Video
Fast-forward to 7:50 to get the gist of Manfred’s misguided message on behalf of team owners.
Cooper was either napping or just not in a combative mood. Usually, he would have taken the opportunity to remind Manfred that:
Major League Baseball revenue for last season hit a record of $10.7 billion. According to a report by Forbes, that was an increase from the $10.3 billion the prior year. With lucrative television contracts in place through this decade, no one connected to baseball loses money.
$4 billion is four-thousand million dollars, a number Manfred designed to impress. If divided equally among the thirty teams, each will lose about $133 million in revenue with a half-season of games and no fans in the stands.
That also sounds impressive and worthy of some semblance of sympathy until you also take a peek at 2019 revenues by teams in 2019.
And when you do, you’ll find that teams with the lowest revenue (Marlins, Athletics, and Royals) each earned $220 million and more in 2019.
The teams at the top – you guessed it – the Yankees ($883 million), Dodgers $556 million), and Red Sox ($516 million) blew the lid off any claim there aren’t a few spare dollars to absorb a loss this season.
Manfred Banks On Fans Believing This Is About Money
I’d be excited to know that you have made it this far and are still reading. Numbers are boring and subject to misuse and distortion.
That Rob Manfred has chosen to follow the financial end of the coronavirus impact on baseball suggests there is another issue he wants to avoid as much as he can.
And that’s because this one is all about the players and supporting personnel needed to stage a major league baseball game.
Rob Manfred, as well as not one of the owners he represents, will be handling the catching or home plate umpiring duties that night.
Nor will he be catching a baseball from the hands of a sweaty backstop in the ninety-degree sweltering heat of August.
There Are Lives On The Line Money Can’t Buy
The resumption of the 2020 baseball season is about safety – not money – at least from the perspective of those charged with making a major league game happen.
Rob Manfred is quick to point to the 80-page document (yet to be released) outlining for a protocol designed to reduce, but not eliminate, the chances of the worst happening when a player or clubhouse attendant is struck down with the coronavirus.
Because if and when that happens, all eighty pages get thrown in the shredder. There is no “protocol” that can assure Blake Snell that Rob Manfred and MLB have his back if he is tapped on the shoulder by COVID-19.
Nor can there be a protocol that ensures Blake Snell he has not or is still spreading the infectious disease to teammates, family, friends, and the clerk where he picks up his dry cleaning.
According to the “protocol,” Snell will be quarantined, but the games the Tampa Bay Rays are scheduled to play will go on, thereby further risking the spread to another team.
And the vicious cycle goes on.
Blake Snell – The Inconvenient Poster Boy
Watch this video, and you’ll quickly see that Blake Snell is not made for the role he has stepped into. But listen carefully to what he is saying…
Here’s Blake Snell discussing MLB’s revenue split proposal this afternoon on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/CCyCai42Aj
— John Flanigan (@jflan816) May 13, 2020
It’s not very pretty, is it? Nor is it grammatically correct, and it’s filled with street-talk nonsense. But when stripped away from the rhetoric and emotion, the video speaks to a fact no one can ignore.
Any player, umpire, TV announcer, coach, clubhouse attendant, and countless others are risking their lives. Try putting a price tag on that.
This is where the money argument about owners losing money for one season when the dam has burst with record-setting revenue that trends with no end in sight for MLB – falls flat on its face.
Rob Manfred: Stop, Just Stop It
No one is crying about the $7 million owed to Blake Snell for the 2020 season under the auspices of a signed contract with the Rays.
Anyone of us will gladly take the 50 percent pay cut agreed to earlier this season by the players. We might even give in to the newest Manfred proposal calling for a 50-50 split in revenue for games played in 2020 with the players.
But if you expect Snell and others to set foot on a major league field in the midst of what we are experiencing – protocols or not – think again unless you are going to pay the gladiators entering the arena the full extent of my salary for this year and beyond.
Would you do it, considering the risk(s), Rob Manfred? Because that is the real crux of the matter.