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Did MLB Commissioner Manfred Signal Beginning of the End for Woke Corporatism?

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Rob Manfred, current Commissioner of Major League Baseball speaking at a press conference while his was the C.O.O. of MLB on July 15, 2014. Source=[ FanFest 2014]

On November 2nd, most political observers and media pundits were laser-focused on the elections taking place throughout the country. But in Houston, another event with widespread cultural and, this year, political significance was also taking place as the Atlanta Braves celebrated their first World Series Championship in 26 years. As the contingent of Braves fans on hand gathered along the third base line seats to watch manager Brian Snitker hoist The Commissioner’s Trophy, the actual commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, took the stage to congratulate the team. Before he could even begin to speak, a chorus of boos rained down on him from the stands.

Manfred had to have known it was coming after his handling of the controversy over the All-Star Game earlier this summer. But while the Braves faithful, baseball fans in general, Atlanta residents, and indeed all rational Americans have good reason to loathe Manfred, there were signs in the days leading up to the World Series that baseball’s capitulation to the woke mob may not be as complete as previously thought, perhaps revealing cracks in the radical left’s iron grip on corporate America and the country’s leading cultural and sporting institutions.

In April, Manfred announced that the MLB would be pulling its All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new election security law. Democrats claimed the legislation, which implemented popular election integrity measures like Voter ID while also expanding access to absentee voting and mail-in ballots, amounted to “Jim Crow 2.0,” while Republicans pointed out that the law would actually make it easier to vote in Georgia than many liberal states.

Denver was eventually chosen as the new site for the All-Star Game. By that time, the hullabaloo over the Georgia law had died down once people realized that maybe the law wasn’t actually racist, and the left had moved on to the next “existential crisis” supposedly threatening American democracy. But while Georgia’s new voting law isn’t hurting Black Americans, the MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game certainly did, costing Black-owned businesses in Atlanta tens of millions of dollars in potential revenue.

Much to the delight of Atlanta fans, however, and likely much to the chagrin of Rob Manfred, Atlanta would not be denied a major sporting event this year, as the Braves put together one of the more impressive second half season finishes in recent memory, bringing the World Series to A-Town. Manfred couldn’t avoid questions about the decision to move the All-Star Game in his press conference before Game 1, where he was reluctantly forced to address the controversy.

“We have always tried to be apolitical,” Manfred said at the time, adding that “obviously, there was a notable exception this year.” However, and this is the key part, Manfred went on to say that “I think our desire is to try and avoid another exception to that general rule.”

That is a telling statement – it’s as close as someone of Manfred’s power and stature will ever get to admitting that they were wrong. There was none of the moralizing about voting rights that had characterized his statements in the spring. There was no attempt to defend the decision on the merits. Instead, the Commissioner was eager to pretend the whole thing was a regrettable occurrence that is best forgotten.

Manfred also declined to issue a rebuke of the Braves’ Native American iconography and traditional “Tomahawk Chop” chant. Both had come under fire from many of the same left-wing voices that had before helped get the All-Star Game moved from Atlanta. Manfred said only that “the Native American community in the region is fully supportive of the Braves program, including the chop… for me, that’s kind of the end of the story.”

This shift in tone and sudden willingness to push back against the woke ideologues who have infiltrated every aspect of American culture from big business to baseball suggests a far more significant development than simply one sports league commissioner deciding he has had enough. It’s important here to remember that professional sports are, at the end of the day, businesses. Ultra-rich billionaires buy and sell teams to turn a profit, just like any other large corporation. The job of the commissioner is to act as the public face of the league, bearing the brunt of public criticism so that team owners don’t have to. When it comes down to it, Rob Manfred has one mandate as commissioner: keep the owners happy.

It’s therefore absurd to think that Manfred would have made the call to move the All-Star Game without buy-in from the owners. Just as other corporations like Coca Cola and Delta Airlines succumbed to the woke mob and bought in to the left-wing hysteria over the Georgia law, so too did the MLB owners, a reflection of the common corporate ethos inside the C-suite of many teams across the league.

Now, as Manfred appears more subdued—even chastised—when he’s asked about pressure from left-wing groups, it’s also undoubtedly with the interests of the owners in mind. In Manfred’s slight annoyance with such questions, we might also see the weariness of the owners with submitting to left-wing social politics. Baseball thus might, might just be the first corporate structure where we find signs that those at the top no longer see the utility in humoring the left’s radical social justice crusades. Maybe conservatives’ appeals to reason have hit home, or maybe the radical left’s superciliousness has simply become too much. Either way, there is reason for hope.

It is of course possible that this is all a façade, and the next time the woke mob directs their wrath at the MLB, Manfred and the team owners will once again crumple and pay tribute to whatever cause célèbre has captured the left’s attention that week. The league had already taken a hard left turn before its activism this summer, and America’s pastime is today hardly free of political influence. But as the rest of the country seems to finally be taking a stand against the scare tactics and general ridiculousness of left-wing identity politics, perhaps the MLB can also reject the woke corporatism that has infected seemingly every major American institution.

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1 year ago

This psycho pulled this stunt against Atlanta in the year of Hank Aaron’s death!! Over VOTER ID!! SERIOUSLY!! TENS OF $MILLIONS lost to a major American city over something we all know is absolutely necessary for an election!No, no! UNFORGIVABLE!! Atlanta should destroy this animal in court!

Bobby Elgin Elgin
1 year ago

You screwed up the all-star game and the Braves proved you incompetent! Stay out of politics fans don’t watch Baseball for your stupid opinions.

1 year ago

I really like to watch baseball, my wife and I was planning on going to all stadiums. But no anymore. I quit watching all pro sports. Going to watch college . Manfred never did cancel his Augusta golf membership. What is good for you is different for me.

Jorge L Rios
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken

I think the idea that college sports are not affected by all the left wing political ediology is really a fullish one. You are beeing deceived since most of our colleges and universities are run by liberals and most of what they are teaching our youth is socialist/communist propaganda. Why would you think that thier sports programs not be affected by this? It is just beeing kept hidden for now so as to keep the wool over your eyes.

1 year ago

I’m just one person. Nobody important. I did my part and stopped watching all pro sports. As long they hate on America, I cannot support them in any way.

1 year ago

Atlanta business owners should have sued the $#!+ out of them.

Lee S McQuillen
1 year ago

Has to come down to money – always does. Guess there was enough boycotting in various areas. Would be nice if commonsense entered into these things!

Joanne 4 justice
1 year ago

What’s common sense ????? The idiot SOCIALIST “woke culture ” is doing its best to DELETE common sense and informed cr1itical thinking !!!!!

Nathan Steeves
1 year ago

2020 killed my love of the MLB. It had been eroding over the anthem protests, it was obliterated on opening day. After all the BS of the Covid lockdowns I couldn’t have been more ready to enjoy baseball. I noticed “BLM” on the mound of the game I had chosen to watch on MLB.TV. I turned it off before the first pitch and then I learned that every mound had been emblazoned with the same clever endorsement of an anti-family, communist organization. I canceled my MLB.TV subscription the same day and haven’t watched any baseball since. If I hear a news update about the sport I turn off the radio or television. America’s past time can kiss my ass until they remember that America is a great place again.

bruce c wickstrom
1 year ago
Reply to  Nathan Steeves

As a diehard RedSox fan living in Georgia. I thought these playoffs were lopsided but many exciting games. I thought the Commissioner did better than previous ones except for pulling the All Star game out of Atlanta which was a big loss for the businesses. Maybe next year, my Red Sox can pull off another series championship. RVN 68-69

Troy Jones
1 year ago

Two years ago, I watched 125 games on tv. After Baldelli led my formerly beloved Twins on their knees like cowards and their no name long term announcer said they were heroes, I haven’t watched 125 seconds of baseball. Fire Manfred, Baldelli,and Bremer. Anything short, I will continue to boycott all Twins sponsors and be silent to any legitimate concerns they might have when these scumbags decided the flag and national anthem was worthy of debasement.

1 year ago

Too little, too late. MLB is dead. Manfred killed it.

1 year ago

Oh boo hoo, can’t take fans booing him? Or did he lose some loyal fans and their money? Because he lost me for 2 years now. Make a real statement and give Cleveland their Indians back or resign because nobody wants to watch MLB anymore, and it is your fault, Manfred. A wise man said, ‘everything woke turns to s**t’. Go get your booster, put a mask on and go away.

Stephen Keller
1 year ago

I did not watch one game this year due to this issue!

robert E broderick
1 year ago

I haven’t watched any pro sports (except golf) in about 2 years. If they want wokeness they don’t want my participation.

PGA Boycott
1 year ago

good for you to Robert but you need to boycott PGA they cancelled all booked tournaments at Trump properties.
Plenty of other things to watch and that aren’t so boring-GOLF YAWN
..or just get out and lay yourself!

Margaret Brown
1 year ago

Professional sports, Hollywood, TV are dead. They lost our family in the last few years! Its no longer an empty escape from the completely insane world. Its all about greed and speaking down to the little people from the bully pulpit.We no longer, go to games, purchase sports merchandise or go to the movies…. The ignorant, selfish and spoiled entertainment is lost…

1 year ago
Reply to  Margaret Brown

I very much agree with your statement. I left pro football in 2016, and had left pro baseball and basketball before that. I quit watching pro hockey this year after all the woke nonsense at the first game. I’m left with college football, baseball, softball, and basketball. I don’t watch ESPN (except for some ball games). I will not watch anything that denigrates the US. Does that mean we don’t have problems to fix, no. It means that these woke, racist, libtard idiots don’t have fixing things in mind.

Ron Howard
1 year ago

Money is all that really matters in the end, with business, sports, and entertainment!

1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Howard

and congress, politicians….. they have to make sure they take as much of our money as they can to stay in control & stay powerful over us…. but not so much that we’ll revolt & boot them out.

1 year ago

The more often people cave to spoiled children the worse their behavior is.
These punk ,loudmouth morons need to be put back on their place and taught some manners.
It’s ridiculous for anyone to put up with this garbage they spew.
Boycott them instead.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

Pro sports will eventualy die by their own hand. Politics andf greed will finnaly do it in. The yesteryear families can no longer afford the games. Kyle L.

1 year ago

Dumb as a box of rocks

Alice Elder
1 year ago

They are not Democrats. They are Dumocrats.

Mel Thompson
1 year ago

I’m not a conservative, but I like your publication. I’m an old world liberal who won’t be voting for his party again until woke corporatism is 100% denounced by the DNC. (Until then, me and my party remain separated.)

Ron Howard
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Thompson

Good to hear there are still some Democrats with common sense, Mel. It is an easy slide to the Conservative side, but if still a Democrat you must favor big government, high taxes, and open borders. I am an Independent Conservative (previous Republican).

1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Thompson

Many Democrats of the South were conservative. They seem to be a disappearing breed.

Steven Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  PIDL

Many of them were racists. That is not the same thing as conservative in spite of what liberals would like you to believe.

Larry W.
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Thompson

Any party that would support this craziness is way out of touch. This kind of behavior is not good no matter what party you affiliate with, or no party at all. As Americans we need to put an end to this evil and our elected officials from all partys need to get back to working together for the good of the American people

1 year ago

Time will tell. To late for me though, if you want to be woke you deserve to go broke.

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