Major League Baseball in Talks to Work With … Really?

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Baseball is a lot of fun this year, what with pennant races galore and ever-increasing examples of players showing actual exuberance while playing the game. Even with the specter of my preferred team possibly packing its bags to move elsewhere, the future seems bright for MLB.

Naturally, this is the perfect time for baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to do what he does best. Namely, try and sabotage the sport he allegedly oversees.

Word has gotten out that MLB is in a serious discussion with the impossible to take seriously Barstool Sports to broadcast games starting next year via whichever streaming social media service decides to go along. The talk is that Barstool would pick up an individual team’s feed and provide play-by-play plus commentary, this presumably taking place in-between the sounds of potato chip crunching and beer-induced belching in the “announcers” mother’s basement.

Lest we be unfair to Barstool, it must be noted that the entity has raised over forty-one million dollars with which it has helped over five hundred small businesses survive COVID. This is worthy of all the praise that can be mustered. It doesn’t mean the site isn’t home base for bloated bozos who instead of balls and strikes prefer beer and skin pics … sorry, irreverent lifestyle discussions. Barstool is the Oakland of sports sites. There’s no there there. Being the “conservative” answer to Deadspin is hardly something worth celebrating.

It’s tempting, given the criticism such a possible move is evoking on Twitter, to reject said criticism out of hand as being products straight from the vineyards of Wokey Whine. But is there fire behind the smoke of assorted charges regarding misogyny and worse? Yes, the websites making the charges are universally left-wing: Strike Magazine, Daily Eastern News, Georgia Tech’s student online news site, NBC, Mediaite, CNN reporting on the very brief professional relationship with Barstool and ESPN, etc. However, by the time you get through reading them all, regardless of source there’s a whole lot of bad funk out there about Barstool making one wonder what possible marketing advantage MLB thinks it might gain by catering to its never-really-left-junior-high readership.

Baseball has already embarrassed itself enough the past few days by screaming raaaaacism because it thought it heard a Colorado Rockies fan repeatedly yelling the n-word at a black Miami Marlins player (“and at a Faith Night promotion, too! You know what THAT means, right?!!”) when in fact he was yelling to get this guy’s attention:

Now possibly partnering with Barstool? I’m beginning to believe the oft-repeated comment in sports circles is true: Rob Manfred really does hate baseball.