Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for his comments in which he referenced the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”
Manfred made the comment about the trophy — officially called the Commissioner’s Trophy — during an interview with ESPN on Sunday, and he indicated Tuesday that his comment was “disrespectful.”
“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred told reporters in Scottsdale, Ariz. “There’s no excuse for it. I made a mistake. I was trying to make a point, but I should’ve made it in a more effective way. And again, I want to apologize for it.”
In the television interview, Manfred was discussing the punishment for the Houston Astros in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal. His comment on why he didn’t strip Houston of the title caused the firestorm.
“The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act,” Manfred said.
The “piece of metal” phrasing irked numerous players, and among the people who torched Manfred was Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester.
“That’s someone that has never played our game,” Lester told reporters earlier Tuesday. “You play for a reason. You play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three that I have. If that’s the way he feels, then he needs to take his name off his trophy.”
Lester said those trophies are what visitors to his home always want to see.
“That’s the first thing when people walk into my house: I take them to where my trophies are,” Lester said, referring to replicas that go to players and coaches. “I’m sure that hurt a lot of guys when they saw that, especially guys that haven’t won it, that have been striving for years to try and get to it.”
Cincinnati Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer was been very vocal of the scandal, harshly criticizing the Astros as well as making a comment in Manfred’s direction on Tuesday, prior to the commissioner’s apology.
“As surprising as it may seem, a championship isn’t just a ‘piece of metal’ to most of us,” Bauer said on Twitter. “Its (sic) symbolic of much more than that. The current precedent seems to encourage cheat to win because there’s no consequences. That cannot be our standard.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch was fired due to the scandal, and it also led to the Boston Red Sox parting ways with manager Alex Cora (Houston’s bench coach at the time) and the New York Mets moving on from recently hired manager Carlos Beltran (a Houston player at the time). Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow also was dismissed.
Luhnow and Hinch were suspended by Major League Baseball, which also fined the franchise $5 million and stripped the team of its draft picks in the first and second rounds over the next two seasons.
—Field Level Media