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Great Moments in Consistency: Rob Manfred Edition

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Commissioner Rob Manfred is down in Miami doing his usual MLB Jewel Event media availability.

The topics he’s asked at these pressers range all over the place, touching on all manner of things. In the next few hours you’ll hear quotes from him about pace of play, the Marlins sale and a dozen or two other pressing issues of the day. Most of the time he says . . . nothing. At least nothing of substance. He’s big on talking about how he hasn’t ruled this or that out or how he’s pleased or confident about the non-specific progress that is being made with, well, whatever. That’s what an experienced leader does. You can’t step into controversy if you don’t step at all.

He was asked about the Dodgers TV deal a little while ago, however, and there he stepped in it a bit. Specifically, he was asked about the continued inability of the majority of baseball fans in southern California to see Dodgers games due to the rights carriage impasse between the Dodgers/Spectrum/SportsNet LA on the one hand and rival cable providers on the other. Manfred:

That may be news to his predecessor, who did exactly that with the same team a few years back:

Selig’s involvement in the earlier situation was actually way deeper than merely getting involved in a TV deal. He did so in order to make McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers untenable. To force him into bankruptcy and, eventually, to force him to sell the Dodgers. Along the way it disrupted Frank McCourt’s divorce settlement too. The only way Selig could’ve become more involved was if McCourt had minor children and Selig ruled on custody matters, naming himself their legal guardian and making them call him “Daddy.”

Which isn’t to criticize Selig. He was doing so because it was bad for the Dodgers and bad for baseball for Frank McCourt to own the team. Selig inserting himself in a club’s operations in the manner in which he did may have been unusual, but it was done in order to effect an outcome that, Selig would argue and most would agree, was in the best interests of Dodgers fans and the game.

In light of all of that, Manfred claiming that it’s not in his job description to get involved with the Dodgers TV deal is not accurate. It’s simply not in his interest. The current Dodgers ownership group remains in baseball’s good graces and the current Dodgers TV deal remains in its financial interests (it’s a LOT of money!). The fact that it is hostile to hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of Dodgers fans and the prospect of it eroding the Dodgers fan base over the long term is beside the point.

Manfred could, if he wanted to, insert himself here and exert some of his considerable influence to help broker a solution which would make Dodgers games available to more people. He just doesn’t want to. Which is fine. All leaders have interests and priorities. It’d just be better if he admitted it rather than pleading powerlessness.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.