The World Series may have been played to a sparse audience because of the coronavirus pandemic, but not even that prevented MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred from being loudly booed when he spoke after the trophy presentation on Tuesday evening.
Manfred looked amazed at the booing and scornful speeches that greeted him as he entered the stage for the trophy presentation after the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first world series title since 1988 with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
The MLB commissioner looked visibly stunned as the booing crowd descended from the stands, with mockery and ridicule interrupting his curvaceous speech. Manfred’s speech was in itself a source of debate among the fans watching on television, as it was delivered with an unusually inconsistent rhythm and tone of voice.
Rob Manfred was completely crazy pic.twitter.com/skzVhybmjz
– Jared Tims (@Jared_Tims) October 28, 2020
According to Karl Ravech of ESPN, however, Manfred was in perfect health, and his uncertain delivery was simply due to some technical difficulties, so the sound in the stadium caused a delay.
I contacted Rob Manfred after the game and he said he was fine. The sound in the stadium caused a delay, but he is healthy and happy with everyone’s efforts to get through the game.
– Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) October 28, 2020
The commissioner has long misjudged baseball fans, and many have not forgiven him for his mild punishment of the Houston Astros after the sign theft scandal last November.
In February, Manfred described the World Series trophy as “just a piece of metal” as he defended the MLB’s decision not to take the 2017 World Series title away from the Astros.
Manfred said the league had considered the possibility of withdrawing the title, but had decided not to proceed as it was aware of creating a potentially dangerous precedent.
While the Astros were fined a record $5 million and lost their first and second round tips in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, the players escaped the penalty, although Manfred admitted that the sign theft scheme was “player-driven”.
The end of the baseball season 2020…
1 FOX reports that Justin Turner left the game because of a positive corona virus test.
2. FOX immediately hugged all his teammates.
3. Rob Manfred is booed (and thereby made insecure?) when he awards the âpiece of metal.â
– Tim Healey (@timbhealey) October 28, 2020
I don’t think Manfred noticed that baseball fans *really* don’t like him. It seems he wanted to cry.
– Jomboy (@Jomboy_) October 28, 2020
It’s so perfect that Rob Manfred is about to boast of having finished the season, while the entire WS championship list probably has Covid now.
– Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) October 28, 2020
Rob Manfred heard about Justin Turner and immediately drank 48 beers
– Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 28, 2020
To make things even more uncomfortable for the commissioner, any praise he was willing to pile on the MLB for the coronavirus pandemic negotiations was tempered by the news that the Dodgers’ third baseman, Justin Turner, was withdrawn from Game 6 after testing positive for COVID-19.
“It’s a bittersweet night for us,” admitted Manfred when he spoke to FOX Sports after the game.
“We learned during the game that Justin tested positive and he was immediately isolated to prevent spread.
Turner is the first player to test positive for corona virus since the beginning of the post-season – a remarkable achievement for the MLB, considering that the existence of the shortened regular season seemed to be threatened as early as July, when the league had to cancel a number of games because several players and the team’s staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Manfred can justifiably claim that baseball has succeeded in crowning a world championship in the most unprecedented of all seasons. The opening day was originally scheduled for March 27, but was postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic before months of negotiations between the MLB and the players’ union led to a regular season with 60 games and an extended post-season.
Parts of the playoffs felt surprisingly normal as only a limited number of fans were admitted to the Globe Life Field, one of the hubs used by the MLB in the post-season and for the World Series.
Manfred may have to make some very difficult and possibly unpopular decisions in the near future,