Rob Manfred woke up this morning, as he has every morning for the last…..who knows, really? He grabbed his cold milk with a splash of warm coffee, took a seat in his ergonomic chair in front of his comically large desk, and got to work. Well, he calls it work. It is something. But it’s what he’s always done, forever, and there’s certainly no sense in changing now. “Where is my toasted cheddar bagel with strawberry cream cheese?” He calls out impatiently as an intern is already rushing it into his office, because this is the same thing he has asked everyday since…how long? Hard to say.
What is it that Rob Manfred does on a loop, every day forever, until further notice? Well, that’s simple. He tries very hard to keep some very rich men very happy, and also helps them become even more rich. He’s doing a pretty good job! Sure, a lot of common folk don’t love him. He’s often accused of hating and/or ruining the sport of baseball. But unless he starts ruining the cash flow for 30-some important people, he’ll be just fine.
So every day he wakes up and goes to work, so he can predictably and efficiently squeeze as much labor for as little cost as possible out of a large group of world-class athletes, so that a small group of world-class money-havers can have even more money, all while feeling very good about themselves and their investment— er, public service.
Robert and his bosses just want to bring you the great game of baseball — unless, of course, some greedy players stand in the way of them making more money than before, forever, until the end of time. And if those greedy players don’t fall in line, well then I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to miss out on the great game. See, that’s the problem — Rob isn’t the one who’s stuck; we are. He’ll keep doing what he’s here to do, and we’ll keep being mad about it, and owners will keep making money.
It’ll take a great deal of effort for the player’s union to break us out of this loop, by holding strong themselves, to create something new and better. Early indications are…less than encouraging, but there’s a lot that can be done. Just don’t forget that the players aren’t the ones holding you hostage. They’re living this nightmare with you every day, too.
Hopefully very soon, we can all wake up on February 3rd. Until then, we’ll just keep driving down these train tracks, telling ourselves “I’m betting he’ll swerve first.”