Shaughnessy On Manfred: "I Wish He Was Better"

Dan Shaughnessy isn't convinced that Rob Manfred loves baseball – and even if he does, his COVID-19 protocols were "designed to fail"

The DA Show
August 03, 2020 - 12:21 pm
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The 2020 MLB season could be in trouble, as multiple teams have already been hit by COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Rob Manfred’s response? Blame the players.

Indeed, Manfred said that “players need to be better,” but it seems the league needed to take a page from the NBA and implement better safety and testing protocols.

“This was bound to happen,” Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy said on The DA Show. “They were not particularly stringent with the protocols. It was just sort of designed to fail or to have these kind of outbreaks. Manfred is full steam ahead and we’re going to plow through and we’ll see where that goes. . . . I’m for plowing ahead as well, but I’m not a player. I’m not Eduardo Rodriguez with a heart condition now that could be career-threatening. So there’s legitimate questions about the wisdom of this thing going on.

It has not been a good year for baseball – Manfred, in particular. From contentious return-to-play negotiations to the league’s substandard COVID-19 protocols, Manfred has often looked unprepared, untrustworthy, or both.

“I wish he was better,” Shaughnessy said. “He’s a nice guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s not a dope. He was the lieutenant all those years. It wasn’t a nationwide search when Selig finally got out of it. It was, ‘Well, we’ll elevate Rob.’ One thing about Bud Selig, for all the mockery of Uncle Bud, at least you knew he loved baseball and he had that. He never would have referred to the trophy as a piece of metal. He’s not as much of a robot, which Rob can project as. 

“There are things I don’t necessarily trust or believe a lot of what I hear,” Shaughnessy continued. “I wasn’t happy with him when he came here and gave David Ortiz the presidential pardon on the drug test. Who gets that? Sosa and A-Rod, they failed that same test, Manny [Ramirez] – none of them got that. Why did this guy? It feels like they do things for PR purposes and to spin it the way they want and to have people like them the way they want. It hasn’t worked.”

It’s unsurprising that negotiations between the league and the players’ association weren’t exactly pleasant. But Manfred admitting after the fact that owners were set on a 60-game season no matter what? Yeah, that was a bad look.

“Not getting along with the players association is as old as time,” Shaughnessy said. “I understand that. I think Tony Clark’s in over his head. But [Manfred] does work for the owners and there’s a lot of personalities there. You’re working for [Peter] Angelos and [Jerry] Reinsdorf and John Henry, and it’s quite a collection. That’s not an easy thing to do, and that’s who he’s trying to please. They’ve got trouble ahead. Obviously at the end of 2021, that’s going to be bad.”

The Miami Marlins were the first team significantly impacted by COVID-19. The St. Louis Cardinals became the second.

Unfortunately, the cause of these outbreaks is unclear.

“There aren’t reporters around these teams anymore,” Shaughnessy said. “Why do you think you don’t know what the hell happened with the Marlins or the Cardinals? The life before February, you would know a lot more. No one knows anything. People watch TV and they write what they think. That’s what we’re down to. There’s a reason you don’t have any information or any leaks or you’re not finding out anything because nobody is around them anymore. . . . The people that are writing about it, they don’t know any more than you do. They’re just watching TV. That’s one of the reasons you don’t know who to blame in this thing.”