Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Rob Manfred does what he does best: Pass off responsibility

Illustration for article titled Rob Manfred does what he does best: Pass off responsibility
Image: (Getty Images)

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrongIt’s an oldie, but still true. Perhaps it’s unfair to the Dodgers that perhaps the enduring image of their World Series win will be Justin Turner returning to the field to celebrate after testing positive for COVID-19. Maybe that’s what Turner and the Dodgers deserve for not following the rules. Maybe it’s what MLB deserves for this theater of the absurd of a season. Maybe the rules were actually just theater to make everyone look like they cared, when really all they cared about was finishing these playoffs and collecting the checks.

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Maybe it’s all true, but what it certainly became was another chance for Rob Manfred to bus-toss someone else and deflect from the fact that his lack of leadership is what led to yet another black mark on a game he supposedly governs but doesn’t appear to like, and certainly only views as a vehicle to make 30 insanely rich people even richer with money they’ll never notice.

This was Manfred’s statement, through MLB, on Turner returning to the field after the game:

Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him.

However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.

While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.

The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.

Last night nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party. Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by appropriate authorities.

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On the base level, it’s correct. Turner knew what the protocols were, and shirked them aside. But it’s because people are like that, and baseball players especially, that true leadership was needed. Manfred has never provided that. How many rules and laws are for the express purpose of protecting people from themselves, because y’know, people tend to be stupid and unpredictable and inrrational?

As soon as Turner’s test came back positive, and MLB still has not answered why this happened mid-game, the game should have been stopped. The Dodgers and Rays shouldn’t have returned to the field until everyone was cleared days later. That’s what true caution would look like. That’s what a true commissioner with everyone’s health first and foremost in their mind, would have done. Turner should have never had the chance. That is the only way to make sure everyone was safe.

Removing Turner from the game does nothing. He’s already been amongst everyone for weeks, and days since being infected which we know it takes before you test positive. The fact that the game started, it really wouldn’t have made that much more difference if Turner had kept playing. Turner knows that. The Dodgers know that.

But none of this was ever going to happen. Fox would have shit a chicken at having to rearrange its TV schedule to pick up a delayed and suspended Game 6 and possibly Game 7. It might have even rolled into election coverage, and would have if this were handled properly, and you can bet Fox is salivating over the ratings that 200-car pile-up is going to be. The two teams would have gone nuts, and rightly pointed to Manfred letting fans in the stadium with barely a waiver signed. Manfred would have had 10 tons of shit piled onto him from every writer possible. And that’s just for starters.

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But true leadership of course, is making the hard choice. Next time Manfred comes anywhere near the hard choice that goes against what his 30 bosses want, you’ll know we’re all about to fall into a giant fissure of the Earth’s surface.

Turner had been in the clubhouse and dugout and on the field with everyone. You can bet that MLB will do everything to keep any more positive tests quiet, if not outright lie, to make themselves look better. They’ll also do everything they can to avoid finding out how a player supposedly in the bubble was able to contract the virus, especially after the NBA and NHL were able to do this for months. MLB couldn’t even manage weeks.

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What we may find out is that the system was designed to only happen mid-game for the World Series. MLB was never going to delay or postpone a World Series game. And they wouldn’t want these things getting out before one started. Their big tactic was hope, hope that something like this wouldn’t happen. But it did, and what’s clear is that Manfred has no intention of taking responsibility for any of it.

Have you ever looked at a dollar bill, man?

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