Rob Manfred’s split-doubleheaders are stealing from baseball fans

This ought to be a layup for Rob Manfred, and the embattled commissioner of baseball sure could use a couple of point-blank easy decisions. Manfred has developed a reputation – and it is earned,...

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This ought to be a layup for Rob Manfred, and the embattled commissioner of baseball sure could use a couple of point-blank easy decisions. Manfred has developed a reputation – and it is earned, make no mistake – for caring far more about baseball fans he wants to cultivate as opposed to the ones he already has.

There is a belief – fairly or unfairly but, again, well-earned – that he doesn’t much like the sport over which he has held guardianship since 2015.

He needs a layup. Here is his layup.

Sometime Wednesday – too late to save Mets fans who had a separate-admission, seven-inning doubleheader foisted on them, but in plenty of time to spare untold thousands of others going forward – he must announce an immediate executive order as of the start of business Thursday:

These out-in-the-open bits of larceny must end. At once.

From now on – immediately – if inclement weather forces cancellation of a game there are two, and only two, options:

1) A single-admission doubleheader with two seven-inning games.

2) A separate-admission doubleheader with two nine-inning games.

That’s it. That’s all it will take. In the eyes of a lot of baseball fans that won’t be nearly enough of a roll-back to undo the damage that Manfred has already inflicted on the game, but at least it will keep his owners from – and there’s no delicate way to put this – STEALING FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS.

Mets fans during a rain delay on July 6, 2021.
AP

We can debate the merits or the malevolence of the two Manfred creations that haunt traditional baseball fans every day. The ghost runner at second base to begin the 10thinning remains an intolerable departure for a lot of baseball fans; even purists might’ve been persuaded to accept this if, say, the free runner didn’t enter the game until, say, the 12thinning. But compromise isn’t high on Manfred’s list of skillsets.

And so we also had the introduction of seven-inning double-headers last year. And in the context of 2020, you could make the argument they made sense: limit the possibilities of Covid exposure, allow teams with multiple make-up dates to do so in a manner that wouldn’t completely wipe them out. Plus, games have been decided in five, six, seven, and eight innings going back to the beginning of time thanks to poor weather.

Also, a year ago, there were no fans in the stands. They didn’t have to be part of the solution because they simply weren’t part of the plan, period.

But they are now. And, look: you can have a reasonable debate about seven-inning doubleheaders. Both sides have valid arguments. But only as single-admission affairs.

Separate admission?

That isn’t just wrong. That’s stealing. Folks who bought tickets to the Mets-Yankees game Sunday night did so believing they would get a nine-inning game. Same deal with the fans who bought Brewers-Mets tickets for Wednesday night. If you shell out for a Broadway play and the house lights came on midway through the second act, you wouldn’t stand for that, would you?

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
AP

If you bought a price fix dinner and suddenly were told you had to leave the restaurant before dessert, that would cause an incident, wouldn’t it?

It’s the same thing here. Baseball fans pay through the nose as it is to watch these games in person – tickets, parking, hot dogs, merch, on and on. Now you’re randomly knocking two innings off the program they have already paid for in advance? And if anyone has offered up a 22 percent refund on these games, I sure haven’t heard about that yet. Have you?

One person has the power to stop this – Manfred. It won’t recast his image, or his legacy, but it would show he has at least a passing interest in doing right by his fans. And we already know he wouldn’t be restrained by hoary old handcuffs that might’ve hindered past commissioners who actually seemed to care about the integrity of the games and the continuity of seasons.

Lucky for Manfred, he’s already shown contempt for both. Not only has he ushered in ghost runners and seven-inning doubleheaders, he merrily and unilaterally rushed in on-field strip-searches of pitchers midway through a season. He has shown a willingness to act boldly, if not always wisely. He has the chance to do both here.

He has the chance to end the farce of separate-admission seven-inning doubleheaders right now, immediately, today. Take the layup, Commissioner. Take the damned layup.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Vaccaro

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