In light of the World Baseball Classic coming to a conclusion Wednesday night, I figured these two particular Rob Manfred videos from a few days ago were pertinent.
First up, some seem to be fighting this culture war about how much outward emotion players are allowed to show in order to be playing the game the “right way.” Chief among this discussion is flipping a bat after hitting a home run and how much of a “flip” is acceptable.
Ian Kinsler had some heavily scrutinized comments on the topic but . I agree with that sentiment. Still, we see all over the place that many fans do not agree and think everyone should play “my way.”
On this front, here is commissioner Manfred on the “Rich Eisen Show” two days ago:
A few takeaways there. First off, he intends to continue allowing the game to police itself and, oh, how I love that. I also absolutely love how he used the word “evolution” regarding how the game is different nowadays than it was decades ago. Society is always evolving and baseball should be as well. What wasn’t deemed acceptable by players in the 1940s doesn’t matter. What does matter is what players these days deem acceptable, so long as the behavior isn’t driving away fans.
The evidence shows the opposite. Baseball sets attendance records and makes more and more money each year. We constantly hear about drawing in younger fans. The easiest way to dissuade younger fans from watching is to have a league void of emotional flair. On that front, the WBC games were off-the-charts fun.
Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, we heard for the past six weeks all these ideas about how to make the event better. So many people like to throw out ideas to make something perfect. The newsflash here is that the WBC will never be perfect. There’s no good time of year to have pitchers ready without affecting the regular season and there’s no point on the calendar where every team, player, fan base, etc. will be ready to drop everything and give the WBC two full weeks of freedom.
Still, we keep hearing the idea of a mid-summer WBC -- with MLB taking a few weeks off -- floating. Here’s commissioner Manfred:
That seems like he shoots down the idea, though I wish he did so in stronger fashion. A midseason WBC would be an utterly dreadful idea in my opinion. I believe millions of fans would agree with this, too.
If anything, the 2017 WBC proved that the event has some real momentum right now. As Crash Davis long ago taught us, “never [expletive] with a winning streak.”