- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 6, 2022

Rob Manfred wasn’t going to attend this team’s games anyway. But if he was, he can’t anymore. 

The Kalamazoo Growlers, a summer collegiate baseball team, have handed down a lifetime ban to Major League Baseball’s commissioner due to the league’s lockout. 

The comical press release includes multiple mentions of “fun” — something the team said Manfred opposes.

“The Growlers stand strong in their belief that fun is the key to baseball,” the team’s statement reads. “Rob Manfred stands in direct opposition to these beliefs.”

The Growlers, who play in the Northwoods League, released the statement Friday — three days after Manfred canceled the first two series of the regular season amid negotiations with the players’ union for a new collective bargaining agreement. 

“The Growlers have been committed to using fun to make a difference, and Rob Manfred has shown his commitment to the opposite,” the statement reads. “Amid the MLB lockout, Manfred and the MLB team owners have shown only an interest in money and not providing baseball for their players and fans. They are trying to ruin baseball simply for financial gain.”

The team’s statement followed a similar — but less harsh — ban that was handed down by the Bismarck Larks, also a Northwoods team. The Larks announced that Manfred would be banned until the lockout ended. 

“The Growlers believe a ban of that magnitude is not enough for his crimes against baseball,” Kalamazoo responded. “The Growlers determined that a lifetime ban was the correct punishment for his transgressions.”

The Northwoods League is one of the best collegiate summer baseball leagues in the United States. With 22 teams spread across the Midwest (and one in Ontario, Canada), some of the best college baseball players in the country compete in the league. Former Nationals pitchers Jordan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer both played in the league in the mid-2000s. 

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

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