Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred sat down for an interview about his views on the Houston Astros over the weekend and tried to explain his thinking on the issue. Among the points of view he offered was that he believes the team has been punished enough. He also made it clear he doesn’t plan to dole out any more restrictions on the team unless new evidence comes to light.
ESPN broke down what turned into a wide-ranging interview with Manfred, and his talk ended up divulging quite a bit of information on what the commissioner thinks about how the league and the public have reacted to the Houston Astros sign-stealing controversy. In particular, the commissioner talked about why Houston’s manager and general manager were each suspended for a season — and eventually fired — but no Astros players were disciplined.
“I think if you watch the players, watch their faces when they have to deal with this issue publicly, they have paid a price. To think they’re skipping down the road into spring training, happy, that’s just a mischaracterization of where we are.”
Manfred added he understood there were still quite a few people, especially baseball players, that thought stripping the team of its 2017 title might be in order. The commissioner said that he and his senior staff did discuss it, but in the end, decided against it because it had never been done in Major League Baseball before.
As he talked about it more, it became obvious that he simply didn’t think it was necessary. In shedding light on that point of view, he also made it clear he was quite proud of the way his office carried out the investigation.
“The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act. People will always know that something was different about the 2017 season, and whether we made that decision right or wrong, we undertook a thorough investigation, and had the intestinal fortitude to share the results of that investigation, even when those results were not very pretty.”
Finally, Manfred claimed that any specific punishment of Houston Astros players would have led to grievances filed from the player’s union. That was because the league offered immunity to any player who came clean about the team’s sign-stealing initiative.
While the general public and even restaurant chains have voiced their displeasure over the decisions Rob Manfred made, when it comes to punishment, the league is expected to do it all over again in the near future.
Bob Nightengale tweeted on Sunday afternoon that the investigation into the Boston Red Sox is due out by the end of next week.