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Manfred leading baseball’s ship of fools

Alan Greenwood

Once again, we bring further evidence that baseball must be a great game to survive the fools who run it (not to mention the fools who play it):

Commissioner Rob Manfred is under fire from big-league ballplayers for referring to the World Series trophy (ironically enough, officially called “The Commissioner’s Trophy”) as “a piece of metal.”

In the interest of context, Manfred said this in response to a question as to whether the Houston Astros should be stripped of the 2017 championship, fruits of that season’s sign-stealing escapade. “The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act,” Manfred said.

The stupidity of that comment is breathtaking. If Manfred were the commissioner of the NHL and so blasphemed the Stanley Cup players would strap him (without pads, of course) in the nearest goal and use him for target practice.

Now The Commissioner’s Trophy is no Stanley Cup. And there are far too many big-league ballplayers eternally searching for whining material to compare them to pro hockey players.

Ballplayers will whimper and wail, but actually defending their sense of honor would require them having one.

Still, the man in charge of Major League Baseball has dismissed the World Series trophy as a worthless scrap. As public relations moves go, telling the fans that the teams compete all spring, summer and deep into the fall for a piece of metal is not exactly a marketing strategy designed to inspire excitement.

The comment, no matter its intention, provided a peek inside Manfred’s thinking, if not his soul.

It is the thought process of a bloodless bean-counter. The game is “the product,” which generates revenue streams – TV money, merchandising, ticket sales – the grease that bloats the value of most franchises like few other industries on the planet.

Manfred need not fear any great accounting for this gaffe. Sadly, there are owners out there who also travel on his rickety train of thought.

It will be interesting to watch him hand that piece of metal to a gaggle of whiners in October … or November.

RADIO WAVES: A less damning, but still sad bit of news also illuminates baseball’s uncertain future. The Oakland A’s will not be on the radio this season for fans in the Bay Area.

What are now referred to as audio broadcasts (ugh) of A’s games will be online only. ‘A’s Cast’ will be available via an internet portal called Intune.

This may well be the future, but it is difficult to consider the A’s trendsetters. One of baseball’s most fragile franchises is still stuck playing in that concrete mausoleum that the Raiders recently abandoned (again).

TIME TRAVEL: Feb. 19, 1980 – “For the third consecutive year the Nashua Panthers have won the Bishop Guertin Wrestling Classic.

“The Panthers led all teams Saturday with 170.5 points edging out host Guertin with 165. Timberlane took third with 129 and rounding out the field were West with 122, Con Val with 115 and Salem with 91.5

“The Panthers clinched the victory when Roger Underwood pinned Guertin’s John Esposito at 169 pounds. Underwood received a trophy for most pins in the least amount of time. He pinned all his opponents in 5:23.”

Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248 or agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com.

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