Of all the executives in major sports in the United States, few are accused of hating the very sport they oversee more than MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. That allegation was brought to the man himself this week.
In a recent feature, ESPN Senior Writer Don Van Natta Jr. asked Manfred point blank "Do you hate baseball?" Manfred replied that it hurts him to hear people sincerely ask that.
"It is the most ridiculous thing, among some fairly ridiculous things that get said about me," Manfred said. "The assertion that I hate the game -- that one does rub me the wrong way, I have to tell you the truth."
Manfred has often been accused of hating baseball and wants to destroy the game. It's been asserted that his only real interest in the role as commissioner is to enrich his bosses.
Some of the decisions he's made in an effort to change the game of baseball give detractors ammunition to use against him. But Manfred stated that his plans on improving things shouldn't make him "a hater of baseball."
"Yeah, here's the problem," Manfred said. "When you acknowledge there's something wrong with the game, that turns you into a hater of baseball."
Rob Manfred joined the MLB front office in 1998 after having previously worked as outside counsel for MLB owners in the 1980s and 1990s.
He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2013 and named commissioner in 2015 after the retirement of Bud Selig.