Major League Baseball has endured some awkward moments this week as it begins its crackdown on pitchers illegally using foreign substances. Despite that, commissioner Rob Manfred thinks things are going great.
Manfred told Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic that he was pleased with how the on-field substance checks are going and downplayed Tuesday’s incident in Philadelphia between Joe Girardi and Max Scherzer.
“My view is the first two days have gone very well. We’ve had no ejections, players in general have been extremely cooperative, the inspections have taken place quickly and between innings. Frankly, the data suggests that we are making progress with respect to the issues (in spin rate) that caused us to undertake the effort in the first place. I understand the incident in Philadelphia was less than ideal, but that was one incident. And we expect that we will continue, as the vast majority of cases so far, without that kind of incident.”
Manfred responded to criticisms from Scherzer after Tuesday’s game after the Nationals pitcher referred to the crackdown as the “Manfred rules” and suggested there was a lack of clarity on them from the league. Manfred said the league had sought input from players, but many failed to take advantage of the opportunity:
“It would be incorrect, blatantly incorrect, to assume that the players and the union did not a) provide input into what we are doing and b) have additional opportunities to provide input that they did not take advantage of. The transparency that I owe is to the players. We were really transparent from the beginning of the year that this was an issue of concern to us and that things needed to change.”
Manfred’s comments are unlikely to change any opinions, nor will they change the fact that some players are simply going to insist on showing their displeasure with the situation. There are plenty who are in favor of what’s going on, and in all likelihood, everyone is going to get used to it whether they want to or not.
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