The World Series should not be forgotten by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who on Monday acknowledged he made a mistake when he told a Chicago Tribune reporter that "the World Series is over" before the National League champions got their hands on the trophy.
After careful consideration, Manfred agreed to an apology, but he made it clear that he doesn't believe in blaming himself for something that happened before he arrived in July 2017. He mentioned World Series regulations before he made the comment. He acted with integrity in removing himself from the conversation, he said.
"These regulations do not contemplate a commissioner unilaterally taking action at the point of victory," Manfred said in a statement issued through MLB spokesman Pat Courtney. "My comments were in reference to a particular player and, specifically, a secondary conflict that was facing his team."
The Dodgers didn't see it that way. They felt like Manfred lost control, showed poor judgment and showed himself to be disrespectful to the National League Championship Series.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts, who was sitting in the right field pavilion as a guest of MLB on Monday, didn't apologize. He stood by the decision to tear down the names of the 1907 and 1908 World Series champions in left field and over by the outfield bleachers and replace them with notes about the current champions.
Roberts had a valid point when he talked about the preliminary restrictions put in place by Manfred last summer when he was taking over as baseball commissioner. Players who need to earn their way to the final roster and put together the best possible team were first in line when Manfred unveiled an initiative to add 40 slots per team, or 12 team-run developmental camps in the Dominican Republic.
But the Dodgers felt like Manfred mocked the World Series after eliminating the addition of a third wild-card playoff spot, which would have provided a better playoff field, better players and a chance for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Manfred said Thursday that he understands the feelings of anger and disappointment from the Dodgers.
Roberts said the best thing for Manfred to do now is move on, and he appreciates what Manfred did in taking responsibility for his comments.
"I think it's nice that he wants to make an apology," Roberts said. "I think he feels horrible and he wants to live up to the gravity of those comments. I think he realized the magnitude of those comments. I hope that he doesn't hold it against the players in his statement.
"Obviously, he wants to make the world champions feel appreciated. I'm sure our players feel that way. We really appreciate it."
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