MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and his comments about Oakland A’s fans are still under the microscope. Manfred all but dissed A’s fans who had planned a “reverse boycott” of the team, which has all but said they’re moving to Las Vegas. Add preeminent baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal to the list of people who have skewered the commissioner.
“And I kind of mentioned that this was punching down,” Rosenthal said. “That it’s a person of authority, and responsibility and power, kind of looking at the average fan and saying, ‘Ha-ha, not good enough, sorry.'”
— Stadium (@Stadium) June 20, 2023
“It’s unbecoming of a commissioner of a sport,” Rosenthal emphatically said. “It’s not something that reflects well on him or the sport.”
He explained that he knew Manfred’s job was to be the “bad guy.” But, as Rosenthal pointed out, “You can be the bad guy and be gracious. You can be the bad guy and have a feel for the fans in your sport. You can be the bad guy and have a feel for the players in your sport. He has not consistently shown that feel for the players and the fans.”
These are scathing comments, especially considering where Rosenthal lands on the pedestal. He’s the most prominent MLB reporter in the industry, no disrespect to anyone else. His voice carries a lot of weight in the industry, so the fact that he’s railing this hard against the commissioner is no small thing.
And he’s right. It came off as arrogant and absurd that Manfred all but pointed and laughed at A’s fans, pointing out how their “reverse boycott” was just the “average attendance” for an MLB game.
Manfred on the reverse boycott by fans of the Oakland Athletics
"I mean, it was great. It is great to see what is this year almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night. That's a great thing."
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) June 15, 2023
Few have really come to Manfred’s defense on most of his shortcomings as MLB commissioner. Now he’s been hit by one of the biggest voices the sport has known this century.