I understand at the dawn of every league’s championship that the commissioner has to do something of a state of the union. Roger Goodell, Gary Bettman, Adam Silver… they all have a press conference before Game 1 or the Super Bowl. Given the daily nature of baseball, Rob Manfred has to do it on the day of Game 1 or thereabouts. It’s baseball’s marquee event, so of course the commissioner is going to be there and be front and center to “present” the game.
The problem is that if Manfred has a microphone in his face, chances are he’s going to say something gross.
Adding to the fact that Atlanta is in the World Series, and all the inherent problems their name, logo, and fans provide, meant that Manfred would have to discuss something touchy and controversial, for which we know is a situation he has the same skill level as a koala. So here we go:
It doesn’t take NSA-level clearance to read between the lines here. The first quote is always the idea organizations like this reach for. “Well, we found one group around here that isn’t actively complaining so that makes it ok. Also never mind this large check we cut them.” Remember when WFT tried this? Or the Blackhawks still actively doing it? This article seems like it contains more than enough objectors to make the issue quite clear. But when you’re desperate to justify your spineless position, as Manfred is, you’ll cling to whatever you can in a flood.
The second quote is perhaps the more money one. Manfred gives away the game by admitting that MLB doesn’t market nationally, which might be why interest in the sport seems to wane more and more every year, as well as a marker of just how lazy Manfred and MLB is when it comes to marketing the sport.
And he basically calls the Atlanta market, and Braves fans specifically, racist turds, who would never be able to get over a name and logo change. So the Braves just have to account for that in their considerations on whether to change both or not.
It’s an attempt to absolve him or the league of any responsibility, as has been Manfred’s directive on everything since he took the job. How a commissioner can just say, “Some of our fans are racist, but we can’t do anything about it so we’ll just placate them,” at this point in time is stupefying. But Manfred’s main and only concern has only ever been to squeeze every dollar available right now for the owners. So the thought that changing the name and logo and trying to eliminate The Chop might cause the Braves to sell one less ticket would be the worst fate Manfred can think of. Which is why you get mealy-mouthed garbage like this.
Dressing it up as a marketing issue puts it in the only language Manfred understands. When it comes to morality and decency, Manfred doesn’t know anything about that. He doesn’t speak it. We know what the Braves are, as they moved to an absolute capital of white flight to make those fans feel even better about their not so latent racism. Put it in any sort of financial terms though, and that’s Manfred’s area. So questioning the Braves = less money. Status quo = same or more money. That’s all he knows.