The Increasingly Annoying Commissioner - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Increasingly Annoying Commissioner

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has a way to go to become as annoying as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. But he’s working on it.

As has been well documented, Goodell and Silver seem to think it’s the mission of their ostensible sports leagues to promote left-wing cultural politics, especially to punish league cities that are insufficiently au courant with whatever the LGBT political movement is agitating for this week. When a handful of spoiled NFL players last season decided to dis the country that has rewarded them so handsomely by sitting or giving the black power salute during the playing of the National Anthem, Goodell not only didn’t make these overpaid villains knock it off, but went out of his way to praise them. Silver seems to be under the impression that allowing people who don’t look like women into the women’s room is a requirement for putting on a basketball game. Normal people — even some who believe co-ed facilities are an idea whose time has come — don’t see the connection.

Manfred, who smiles a lot, looks good in a suit (though it must be said that it’s over-dressing to wear one to a baseball game nowadays), and speaks in that maddeningly imprecise way of corporate flag officers, has some truly bad ideas for speeding up baseball games, which as they proceed at baseball’s normal, luxurious pace, need no improving from the likes of Manfred. His most crackpot idea in this unnecessary crusade is to start all extra innings with a runner placed on second base. This one wouldn’t pass muster in a league that puts on Sunday afternoon slow-pitch softball games between the cops and the firemen.

And why it’s so important to get a baseball game over a few minutes sooner than it otherwise would have is anyone’s guess. What’s so important that needs to be gotten to? Are there important tweets that need to be read? Computer games that need to be played? Does the cat need to be flea-powdered? Our lives are too quick-cut and frantic as it is. Baseball doesn’t need to add to this. In fact, a case can be made that baseball is an antidote to the short attention span epidemic we suffer through, giving us an intricate spectacle we can give our full attention to at a comprehensible pace.

So far baseball has been our least political game, with few players hamming it up for various left causes between the National Anthem and the final out. The game’s establishment has pretty much stayed out of political controversies, recognizing that our games represent, in addition to their own charms, a vacation from politics. If I may use the term, a “safe zone,” for those weary of the incessant controversies of the day. (That is unless you tune in to ESPN — Even Sports Political Now.)

Apparently Manfred is not content to allow this pleasant state of affairs to stand. He clearly wishes to get into the political game along with his more with-it colleagues in football and basketball. As his entry into the political wars he has chosen to nag the owners of the Cleveland Indians about Chief Wahoo, the smiling Indian that has appeared on Cleveland Indians caps and jerseys since before Studebaker went broke.

A more harmless little fellow than Wahoo one could hardly find. Anyone finding harm or insult in this friendly team mascot either (1) has way too much time on his hands, (2) is just looking for offense, or (3) should seek psychiatric help for the problem at his own expense rather than raising hell with the team or MLB about it.

But raising hell is what a small number of the usual suspects have decided to do. Countless polls have shown that few real American Indians take offense at Indian-themed team mascots or emblems, including Wahoo. This kind of controversy is totally manufactured by faux Indians, professional offense-takers, and left disturbers of the peace, a few of which have taken to hamming it up before games outside of the Indians’ stadium.

But as American Indians are one of the left’s certified victim groups, Manfred has decided to throw in his lot with a small group of hell-raisers promoting a cause that will not make the lives of a single American Indian one bit better, but will annoy a lot of baseball fans (Manfred’s folks, one would have thought) who consider Wahoo a part of the game they love.

Left wackos make up a tiny sliver of the American population. But thanks to their domination of the culture — through the major media, academe, the courts, Hollywood, and now even the corporate world including Major League sports — their ideas, ranging from crackpot to toxic, are forced on us all. Cleveland Indians ownership has resisted ditching Chief Wahoo. They should continue to resist, but they’ll probably fold their teepee at some point. Big Left almost always wins in the end. Too bad.

If, as is likely, Wahoo is gone one day, not a single Navajo, Apaches, Sioux, Cheyenne, Seminole, Arapaho, Cherokee, et al. (apologies to the tribes I’ve not listed) will be the better for it. But lefties involved in his undoing will be able to feel good about themselves for a while. At least until the next crackpot crusade, which won’t be long in coming.

I don’t know much about how Major League sports find and hire their commissioners when the need arises for a new one. But if I were commissioned to compose an ad seeking applicants for such a post, I would include the following sentence: Social justice warriors need not apply.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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