Rob Manfred’s inability to lead became clearer than ever during the 2020 MLB season, but what exactly is his plan for 2021?
After the initial Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals outbreaks, Rob Manfred went public with a statement: “We are playing,” he said. “The players need to be better but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable”
Ultimately, it was Manfred’s decision to go forth with the season and put players at risk amidst a public health catastrophe. He was the one responsible for enacting league protocols. If anything, failure to limit the spread during the 2020 season falls solely on the commissioner, the same commissioner that refused to play in a bubble, fought with players over contract issues in the offseason, and decided a pandemic was a good time to expand the playoffs.
After the abomination that was the 2020 MLB season, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see what Manfred has in store for 2021.
According to Rob Manfred, playing the 2020 season with no fans cost the league a collective $3 billion. Manfred believes the 2020 model is unsustainable financially moving.
“If we’re going to play next year, and if we don’t have a vaccine and we aren’t past the pandemic, I think we need to think hard about what measures we can take to get people back into the ballpark,” Manfred said.
And although roughly 40 percent of team revenue comes from ticket sales and related game-day purchases, the financial health of a billion-dollar industry does not reign supreme over the physical health of the American people.
Let’s be real here, would you rather have a few healthy ballplayers making millions of guaranteed money a year contract the virus or tens of thousands of paying fans? I think the answer is rather obvious. It’s just a matter of the commissioner getting these priorities in order.
People don’t necessarily need baseball right now, but baseball sure as hell needs us. And with the majority of fans being older, the more you get into the seats this year, the less you will have filled next season.