Searle: Rob Manfred and the illusion of truth

From Ginny Searle at Baseball Prospectus on February 20, 2020:

Few have the privilege of choosing the moment that defines them. If you believe the Greeks, it’s a futile effort, bound to incite the very result one means to avoid. Rob Manfred is choosing his legacy, seeing it cement in real time—as someone who would have been glad to sweep the biggest cheating scandal in 100 years under the rug. The commissioner’s response to the so-termed banging scheme has largely centered around telling the public how it should feel. 

And yet it’s having the opposite of its intended mollifying effect. In that sense Manfred’s handling of the foremost scandal of his reign has been characteristic: Public sentiment was misapprehended or disregarded in coming to an incomplete, unpopular decision, nevertheless presented to the public as unquestionably correct. The commissioner has mistaken his power for justification, bristling when his methods are called into question by fans and players alike. The rancor that has fomented all offseason threatens both MLB’s narrative and verisimilitude. To this point, Manfred has shown himself markedly unprepared to combat the existential threat presented to his sport. If he can’t supply answers to the questions that threaten to topple the league, the league may be forced to consider a commissioner who can.

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Originally published: February 20, 2020. Last Updated: February 20, 2020.