The Athletic

Rob Manfred Talks Pete Rose Letter, FTX Partnership, MLB Rule Changes & More

NEW YORK — Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday afternoon he’s “absolutely confident” the Mets and Yankees are on top of everything in their communications about Aaron Judge.

Athleticism reported Wednesday night that the Players’ Association contacted MLB following a Nov. 3 article on SNY, the Mets’ television network website, which said the Mets and Yankees “enjoy a relationship mutually respectful and did not expect to upset that with a high-profile bidding war.According to the collective agreement, clubs cannot work together to keep free agent prices low.

“I am absolutely satisfied that the clubs have behaved in a manner consistent with the agreement,” Manfred said at MLB headquarters, where he held a press conference after the league’s quarterly owners’ meetings. “This was based on a newspaper article. We will be able to credibly demonstrate to the MLBPA that this is not a problem. I’m sure that will be the result. But obviously we understand the emotion that surrounds this word (collusion) and we will proceed accordingly.

MLB is investigating the matter, but Manfred said he was not personally involved in the league’s investigation at this stage of the process. The MLBPA has the right to file a formal grievance if it wishes.

Here are more of Manfred’s comments to reporters, which also included the announcement that Globe Life Field in Arlington will host the 2024 All-Star Game.

Pete Rose’s Last Letter

Manfred’s stance on Pete Rose hasn’t changed after Rose recently sent a letter to the commissioner asking for forgiveness for betting on sports.

“I believe when you bet on baseball, from a Major League Baseball perspective, you are on the permanent ineligible list. When I addressed the issue, the last time he asked for reinstatement, I made it clear that I didn’t think the function of this baseball roster was the same as the Hall of Fame eligibility criteria. fame. This remains my position. I think this is a conversation that really belongs on the Hall of Fame board. I’m on this board and it’s just not appropriate for me to participate in this conversation.

Rose wrote in her letter, “I write today for three reasons. First, because at my age, I want to be 100% sure that you understand how much I mean it when I say I’m sorry. Second, ask for your forgiveness. And third, because I still think every day about what it would mean to be considered for the Hall of Fame.

The rules of the game change beyond 2023

MLB is considering potential rule changes for 2024, but Manfred didn’t want to throw any ideas at this point. However, it seems possible that the potential changes for 2024 will not be as significant as those for next year. MLB next season bans the shift, institutes a pitch clock, limits the number of times pitchers can pitch to check runners and changes the size of bases.

“I will say this,” Manfred said, “I am aware – aware may be the best word – that we are doing a lot next year. And sometimes you have to make sure you see how – there are a lot of big changes l next year. And I think they’re really important. I think they’re going to improve the game. But we have to watch them carefully. It’s an important variable going forward.

FTX partnership, fixes

In June 2021, MLB announced that the first Referee Patch Sponsor would be FTX, which has also been established as the “Official Cryptocurrency Exchange Brand of MLB.”

Following the high-profile collapse of FTX and the ensuing controversy surrounding the company’s leader, cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, Manfred said MLB would be more cautious going forward.

“Obviously the development of FTX was a bit shocking,” Manfred said. “We have been very careful moving into this space. You know, we’ve tried to – we’ve been very religious about staying away from the coins themselves, as opposed to more corporate sponsorships. We think that was prudent, especially given the way things turned out. We will, I think, proceed with caution in the future.

Manfred declined to elaborate on how much money MLB is losing in the FTX arrangement.

“The FTX deal was a meaningful deal for us. I don’t really want to go into more detail beyond that,” Manfred said.

Said Bankman-Fried in the MLB press release announcing the partnership last year: “It is an honor for FTX to be the first cryptocurrency exchange to be associated with history and tradition. of the American national pastime. FTX.COM and FTX.US are thrilled to enter into this first-of-its-kind partnership with Major League Baseball. At FTX, we strive every day to have a positive global impact, and there’s no better partner to achieve that goal than with MLB and its international fan base. We look forward to announcing more details about our long-term partnership throughout the year. »

Manfred said it was “probably a pretty good bet” that FTX patches wouldn’t be used next year.

Minor League Negotiation

MLB and MLBPA have made preliminary proposals as part of minor league labor negotiations. Manfred said he hopes a deal, which will be the first for the minor leaguers, will be reached early in the season.

“The natural timing would be to try to do it in the offseason,” Manfred said. “We always negotiate better during the off-season. So I think that kind of natural expectation would be to try and get something done before opening day.

Centralized viewing destination for games

Where you can watch your favorite baseball team sometimes varies from night to night, and the variety of destinations can be frustrating for fans. The goal, Manfred said, remains to create a service where fans would have less to bounce between channels or streaming services.

“Ideally, we’ll get to a situation where there’s a destination, either specific to baseball or more than one sport, where people can go to find out they’re going to be able to get games,” Manfred said. “That’s what I mean when I say giving your fans, on a digital basis, the ability to watch games where they want to watch them, when they watch to watch them.”

A’s, the Rays’ endless stadium drama

Rays owner Stu Sternberg told the MLB executive board that the Rays continue to have conversations about building a new stadium “in the Tampa Bay area,” Manfred said. Manfred did not provide any updates on the quest for Stage A or the potential for a move to Las Vegas.

(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA Today)

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