The Most Deserved Boo In Baseball


On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in spectacular fashion, ending their 31-year drought — a drought which has been filled with postseason triumph and tragedy, especially in recent years. Much will be written about the team, including each player’s unique contributions at key moments throughout this postseason. Kershaw, Turner, Seager, Bellinger, Betts, Muncy, Buehler, and a score of others are household names throughout Dodger Nation — some have become famous outright. One man has become infamous, and Dodger fans at the stadium in Arlington confirmed that Tuesday night.  

The celebration on the field was a joy to watch, and the lucky few fans who were able to attend, despite the hysteria surrounding the coronavirus (more on that below), surely had memorable experiences. Casual observers may have been confused during the award ceremony when most, if not all, of the remaining fans roundly booed MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., and many others probably booed from home. He was visibly shaken. He deserved much worse, as he has overseen the unseemly degradation of America’s pastime over the last few years.

First and foremost in fans’ minds, Manfred and his team bungled the investigation and punishment of the Houston Astros for cheating — cheating that may have helped the Astros beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. Much has been said about the failure of MLB to protect the integrity of the game, issuing only a pathetic slap on the hand on too few people. What’s infuriating is that common sense was abandoned at the outset: One does not start an investigation into cheating by offering immunity to those who cheated in order to catch their enablers. It would be as if MLB gave immunity to Pete Rose (let him in to the Hall already!) to go after his bookie. Of course, the Astros’ enablers were part of the game as well, but the players on the field were the main culprits. The immunity deal and feckless punishments don’t dissuade future cheating— they encourage it.

The mainstream sports media did an atrocious job of reporting on this story, casting doubt on the entire scheme. Luckily, new media outlets such as Jomboy and OutKick covered the scandal, and public outrage rightfully ensued. They are doing the work that news outlets used to do: fearlessly publishing the truth. Unfortunately mainstream sports media have become as bad as the mainstream news media, as sports have become one of the latest avenues for purveying falsehoods meant to divide our nation. The media have been a willing accomplice in the ruination of baseball, all based on a false narrative of systemic racism. Enter another reason why Manfred deserves to be booed: the MLB’s rejection of America by embracing radical ideologies and groups.

At the beginning of the MLB season, we saw monuments and tributes to a group that condemned America as irredeemably racist. Never mind the fact that baseball has been a major force for good regarding racial equality and the fostering of a colorblind society. Never mind the fact that baseball has always been America’s pastime. Never mind that fans were yearning to hear the crack of the bat, to see the beauty of a perfect pitch, and to feel the excitement of the squeeze, as they were ordered to stay home by their governors and health bureaucrats. MLB, led by Manfred, decided all of that had to take a back seat to BLM — an organization that rejects everything about America and largely everything about baseball, including patriotism, meritocracy, and capitalism. Baseball may now be enjoyed if and only if fans agree to wade through the new world of self-loathing, virtue signaling, and grievance politics. And we should all be disabused of the hope that we might once again see the National Anthem or the color guard aired on live TV. Such things are too divisive. 

Finally, and most recently, Manfred’s MLB shamefully embraced the mass hysteria that has gripped the world during 2020. The culmination of this embrace started to appear near the end of Game 6, when fans began to ask, “What happened to Justin Turner?” As we now know, the Dodgers’ star third baseman had tested positive for coronavirus, and the results were delivered while the game was in progress. After the game, Manfred said, “We learned during the game that Justin was a positive. He was immediately isolated to prevent spread.” Who came up with this policy, and who approved it? Worst of all, who implemented it during Game 6 of the World Series?

To take a man who has been the beating heart of his team out of a final game near the very end is not only asinine but cruel, considering the circumstances and the knowledge we now have about the virus. Prudence was woefully absent from Manfred’s MLB on Tuesday night. The virus is not fatal to those who are young and healthy. Even those under the age of 70 are at little risk from the virus, as antibody studies have shown. Turner did not have any symptoms. He was in the middle of playing a game in the World Series, and he was playing fairly well. What if this policy and its ridiculous implementation had changed the results of the game? What if it did change the results?

In a move that speaks to his character, Justin Turner refused to stay locked down, even though he was kept from playing the final innings of the game and from celebrating with his teammates afterwards. It has been reported that he “emphatically” refused to stay isolated from his teammates as they took the official team photo for their historic win. Good for him. And good for those who choose freedom over fear. As expected, the self-righteous Karens in the media and on Twitter went ballistic and demanded that he be fined and investigated. The virtuous basement-dwellers can rest assured, Manfred is on the case.

Matt Bell is a deputy editor of Imprimis. A graduate of the Hillsdale College Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship, he was born and raised a Dodgers fan.