The Manfred Legacy

Worst. Commissioner. Ever.

Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred is widely and rightly reviled. He has managed to change the game of baseball fundamentally in a few short years, instituting new rules like the extra-inning "zombie baserunner," the ever-changing pitch clock, participation-trophy-level playoffs, and the metastasization of the cancer known as the designated hitter. A lot of people like some of these rules, which I simply don't understand in a few cases. I think most of them were solutions to problems that didn't exist; the only ones I don't have at least some objection to are the limit on mound visits and the three-batter minimum for pitchers.

Suffice to say, the dude has left his mark. Things are way different than they were before he surfaced from whatever sea of goo his species lives in. But I have to hand it to Craig Calcaterra: he went beyond the rules and pinpointed the real legacy of Commissioner Manfred.

I’ve spent several years mocking all of the “Official ___ of Major League Baseball” sponsorships we’ve seen since Rob Manfred took office. Selling everything that isn’t nailed down, selling lots of things that are nailed down, and inventing new things to sell from whole cloth has really been his singular achievement as commissioner.

Craig was working up to the weirdness within the new rotating sponsor ads on the login page of the MLB phone app, but his broader point is seen everywhere. It's really quite gross. Especially when the jersey ads appear on uniforms now made so cheaply that they look like baggy knockoffs made with iron-on technology in a child-labor sweatshop. Which, if we're being real, they probably are.

Manfred can't leave his job quickly enough. But we're stuck with him for another five years. By which time we might all be watching Blernsball.


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