Keep Doing You, Rob

And Adam Silver might be running two leagues.

Jim Rome
April 28, 2021 - 11:40 am
Rob Manfred

USA Today

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One of the great battles in sports is the battle between Major League Baseball and people who love baseball. Because for years now, it seems like MLB has been absolutely determined to do whatever they can to jack with the game and make it less popular. Or, as serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said recently: more people watch people playing video games, than people watch people playing baseball. 

But it makes complete sense. Esp. Given how often baseballs tries to choke itself out. Starting with the commissioner of the sport himself, Rob Manfred? Is he try to fix the sport or wreck it? Does this guy ever get anything right? Just go back to his lame attempts to spin the punishment for the Astros, the league’s inability to get games underway in a timely fashion during the pandemic last year, and the fact that seemingly every time the commissioner talks about the game, he’s complaining about the pace of the game.

If you were running a sport that has guys like Fernando Tatis Jr, Juan Soto, and Shohei Ohtani, you might want to spend as much time as you possibly could hyping that young, electric talent.  But he doesn’t, because he’s way too busy crying about the pace of his game, and coming up stupid gimmicks like

Like limiting pitching changes and mound visits, and putting human ghost runners on second in extra innings.

He’s spent so much time talking about the pace of games that someone actually told him to stop talking about it. And it wasn’t someone from his office. It wasn’t an owner. Or the player’s union. It was someone from an entirely different sport.

In a Q&A with Sportico yesterday, Manfred told what he thought would be a quote “funny story,” that ended up with him embarrassing himself all over again.

“I’ll tell you a funny story — one night I was coming back from an event and the phone rang and it was Adam Silver. And we were talking about something and he said, ‘Rob you gotta stop talking about the pace of game. Your pace of game is going to be absolutely perfect for sports betting.’ And he’s right.”

Dude. Hilarious. You’re right, Rob, funniest bleep ever. I mean crazy: one commissioner, calling another commissioner to tell him to shut up about the pace of the game: and to stop trashing his own sport so much. Stop it, dude, you’re killing me: Are you kidding me about that? What’s better than that? Pretty much everything. That’s what.

Always good to get an outside perspective and a fresh set of eyes on a situation: always good to have someone there to tell you not what you WANT to hear, but what you NEED to hear. But how freaking embarrassing is it that a commissioner from another sport has to call you to say, dude shut up already about the pace of the game.  In short, if you have an issue with YOUR sport, instead of crying about it all day long, FIX it.  After all, you ARE the commissioner. 

Newsflash Robby: that’s not a funny anecdote you just shared. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a complete joke: it’s just not funny. Here’s your issue: you’re losing eye balls. You’re losing fans. You have to find a way to get them back. And telling everyone how much your game sucks is not the way to do it

Even worse, he had to be told, again, by another commissioner, that the thing he is dumping on most, pace of the game, is actually a good thing. In fact, it’s great. 

Sliver had to be like, how do you not see this? Hey dummy, you’re sitting on a gold mine and you don’t even know it.

While every other league has been figuring out best practices for maximizing the potential of legalized sports betting, MLB seems to be going out of its way to sabotage itself. Just blasting of their toes every chance they get.

I cannot get over how remarkable it is that that conversation had to be had with the commissioner in the first place. And that it wasn’t had by someone from inside his office. There are plenty of Brainiac’s to come up with pitch clocks and capping mound visits, but nobody thought, wait, hold up, sports betting is becoming legal in more and more states, and we’ve got all this time between pitches and between innings – could that be used for letting people place bets?

And if people are betting on the games, and doing it in-game, there’s a good chance they’ll be watching those games, right?

Silver had to bet thinking: Hey, dope, what I would give to have a sport with that kind of pace for in-game betting. I’ve got to deal with this end-to-end action and hope that I can come up with a solution. You’ve got so many stoppages in play that the betting can be nearly constant, and you’re complaining about tit?

And how did Rob respond to that? Wait, you’re telling me that having a few seconds between each pitch means that people could place micro bets on what will happen? Tell me more. What are micro bets? Better yet, back it, explain it to me like I’m five, what is betting? How does it work?

It is the most MLB thing ever that they couldn’t get out of their own way on this one. It is the most baseball thing ever that they’ve been putting all this time and energy into speeding up the game, which would reduce the opportunities for in-game betting. And it is the most MLB thing that they didn’t know their own strengths from their weaknesses and it took someone from outside the sport to tell them.

Keep doing you, MLB. Better yet, see if Adam Silver wants to be commissioner of two sports at the same time, because he seems to have a better head for baseball than the current guy.