- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2022

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recently extended an olive branch to the league’s players, but some baseball fans think it was instead a slap in the face.

Manfred last week gave every major league player a pair of Bose headphones as both an opening day present and a peace offering following Major League Baseball’s contentious 99-day lockout that nearly led to the cancellation of games. Along with the headphones was a letter signed by Manfred, whose relationship with the players has deteriorated after taking over for Bud Selig in 2014. 

“Please accept this gift as a small gesture of my appreciation for the hard work that comes with being a Major Leaguer and your respect for our incredible fans,” Manfred wrote. “Thank you for everything you do in a game that has such a rich history and deep meaning to our fans in the U.S. and around the world. Wishing you the best of luck for a successful season.”

While some saw the present as a nice gesture, many fans crushed Manfred on social media for gifting something relatively inexpensive after he acted callously at times during negotiations. 

“This is like your boss giving you pizza instead of a raise,” one fan tweeted.

Rob Manfred really said here are some noise canceling headphones so you can not listen to me like I don’t listen to you,” posted another fan on Twitter.

It wasn’t just fans who reacted negatively to Manfred’s gift. Steven Souza Jr., a former major league outfielder who is currently in the Mariners’ minor-league system, tweeted that the headphones mean “nothing.”

“You wanna repair the relationship let’s see it action. This means nothing,” Souza tweeted.

When Manfred announced the league would be postponing the start of the season, he came under fire for laughing multiple times during the press conference. He later admitted that he hasn’t done a good enough job to have a good relationship with the players.

“One of the things that I’m supposed to do is promote a good relationship with our players,” Manfred said after ending the sport’s lockout. “I’ve tried to do that. I think that I have not been successful in that.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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