Coca-Cola Shows Damage Rob Manfred Has Done To Baseball

While a player may be the face of any professional sports league, it is ultimately the commissioner of the league who is the voice. When a commissioner speaks, you need to listen because he is the person who has the ability to change and shape the game.

Of course, the commissioner has little to no autonomy. In many ways, he is the spokesperson of the owners of his league. With that, it is important to remember that when the commissioner is speaking, he is oft times delivering someone else’s message. To that end, leagues absolutely need someone who has the gravitas to not only be authoritarian when needed, but also to be able to proclaim an undying love of their sport.

When you look at David Stern, that’s what you got. You may have hated Bud Selig, but at the end of the day, no one anywhere questioned his love of baseball. When you have a commissioner who loves the game, you are more willing to accept criticism of the game as more of looking for progress than whining about the product.

That’s where Rob Manfred’s ultimate failure has been. No one really truly believes he actually loves baseball. In fact, it is fair to question whether he even likes the sport. People notice, and they act accordingly.

Look at the current negotiations with the players. He keeps pushing for fewer games. He doesn’t couch it for COVID19 concerns, or even pitcher’s health concerns. No, he continues to push the aspect of revenues instead of health and games. Again, this is an important point where your commissioner’s messaging matters.

This follows a pattern with Manfred. He wants to contract 42 minor league teams. He wants fewer players drafted. He has talked about a shorter schedule. While the NFL is at 32 teams, and the NHL will soon be there, Manfred does not want expansion. Everywhere you turn, Manfred keeps making the argument for less and less baseball. That does not sound like someone who loves the sport.

That’s why you can and should have a healthy skepticism when he suggests changes to the sport including an universal DH, radical realignment, and things like a pitch clock. Time and again, his suggestions sound like someone who does not like baseball and just wants the sport to be different in the hopes it will capture his interest.

When you are a commissioner who constantly downgrades his product when he speaks, picks labor fights, and pushes for less and less baseball, people will notice. That starts with the fans, and it goes to advertisers. Sooner or later, when all you hear is negativity from the commissioner, people are just going to walk away.

The first major corporate sponsor to walk away was Coca-Cola.

Now, we don’t know how much of that is related to all business taking a hit due to COVID19. We don’t know if Coca-Cola is re-imagining their advertising approach. All in all, we don’t know their reasons, and whether they will begin to take similar actions with other industries.

What we do know is this comes on the heels of the current MLB labor fight which has not been received well by anyone. It comes on the heels of Manfred pushing for fewer games and fewer teams. It just comes on the heels of a continuous assault on the sport by the commissioner.

Whatever the case and whatever the reason Coca-Cola left, they left. With them went one of the largest businesses in the world. When they left, they left the message they’ll continue to do business with individual teams, but not MLB as an entity. No matter how you want to spin that, that is a direct response to Manfred’s stewardship of MLB.

While the owners have let a lot of bad messaging from their personal messenger Manfred slide, you can’t imagine they are going to let this slide. That goes double when different owners are making the laughable claims right now about the profits and value of their teams and the sport.

2 Replies to “Coca-Cola Shows Damage Rob Manfred Has Done To Baseball”

  1. David Klein says:

    Let’s take a lot at Manfred’s resume— protected the Wilpons at costs— pissed off the players by mocking the World Series trophy— insulted Mike Trout— tried to break the union and instill a salary cap— dismantle the minor leagues— soon to mandate a bastardized season. Oh and slap the Red Sox and Astros on the wrist for sign stealing.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      While giving the Yankees a pass on their sign stealing

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