Rob Manfred Apologizes for Calling World Series Trophy a 'Piece of Metal'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2020

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 10: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during the 2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings on December 10, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued an apology for comments he made denigrating the World Series trophy.   

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Manfred explained his remark before expressing regret for how he said it. 

"In an effort to make a rhetorical point, I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way," he said. "... It was a mistake to say what I said."

In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech earlier this week, Manfred called the Commissioner's Trophy a "piece of metal" when talking about the possibility of stripping the Houston Astros of their 2017 World Series title amid the ongoing fallout from their sign-stealing scandal. 

Manfred also reiterated his desire to "drastically restrict in-game access to video" and said that talks with the MLB Players Association are ongoing. 

The commissioner also praised Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who was one of the key whistleblowers on the Astros scandal in a November report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich

"We will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he's playing, whether it's in Houston or somewhere else. ... Mike did the industry a service," Manfred said. 

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Manfred's comment about the World Series trophy drew the ire of many players around MLB.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, whose team lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, called out the commissioner for demeaning the symbol of MLB's championship. 

"I don't know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life," Turner told reporters Monday. "Maybe he hasn't. But the reason every guy's in this room, the reason every guy is working out all offseason, and showing up to camp early and putting in all the time and effort is specifically for that trophy, which, by the way, is called the Commissioner's Trophy."

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester told reporters Manfred should "take his name off his trophy" after his original comment.

During his interview with Ravech, Manfred stated there is "no question" that MLB will have a new video policy that restricts access during games before the start of the 2020 regular season. 

The talk of a policy change comes after MLB's investigation into the Astros discovered the team set up its sign-stealing system during the 2017 season using the video replay room and a live camera feed set up in center field. 

Fiers pitched for the Astros from 2015-17 but was non-tendered after the 2017 campaign. He has been with the Athletics since he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in August 2018. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale spoke to several former players who openly wondered "how Fiers will be treated by opposing players, or even in his own Athletics clubhouse."

Manfred told reporters during his Sunday press conference he made it clear to teams that intentional retaliation against the Astros, or any other team, would not be tolerated: "It's dangerous, and it is not helpful to the current situation.”

The Astros will play their first game this season Saturday in spring training against the Washington Nationals. They will open the regular season on March 26 at Minute Maid Park against the Los Angeles Angels.