HOUSTON – No pressure has been put on Atlanta to change its nickname or ban the tomahawk chop from its fans, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday, supporting Atlanta’s stance.
“I think it’s important to understand that we have 30 markets in the country,” said Manfred. “Not all are equal. the Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Indian community. The Native American community in this region fully supports the Braves program, including the Chop.
“For me, that’s the end of the story, so to speak.”
Well, the story may not start until you consider that Atlanta is now on the biggest stage in baseball, and the tomahawk chop is likely to attract heavy criticism.
“Atlanta, like I said,” said Manfred, “you did a great job with the Indians. I think the Native American community is the main group to decide whether or not it is appropriate, and they have steadfastly supported the Braves. “
However, it is hardly like every Native American group supports the hacking, with several tribal communities vigorously opposing it, believing that it is showcasing racism.
“I don’t know how every Native American group across the country feels,” Manfred said. “I am 100% sure that the Braves understand what the Indian community in their area believes and that they acted in accordance with that understanding.”
What if Native American groups outside of Atlanta vigorously oppose the tomahawk chop?
“We don’t market our game nationwide,” said Manfred. “You have to sell tickets to the fans in this market every day. And there are many differences between the regions when it comes to marketing the teams. “
Tony Clark, Executive Director of the MLB Players’ Association, also met with the news media ahead of Game 1 and said the Tomahawk chop is a concern to his membership and worth discussing to visit again.
“I know that there are certain things that resonate with me as a black,” said Clark on the Tuesday before Game 1. “And I would assume that there are cases that resonate with others too. If this is one of them, it is worth a dialogue. “
Manfred still is loathed in Georgia for moving the All-Star game to Denver in protest of the suffrage law, which experts believe discriminates against African Americans and other minority voters, and hopes the MLB can stay out of the political arena.
“We always tried to be apolitical,” said Manfred. “Of course there was one notable exception this year. Our wish is to avoid another exception to this general rule. We have a diverse fan base with different views and we want to keep the focus on the field, on the game.
“It’s more difficult than it used to be.”
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Major League Baseball and the union have a scheduled negotiation meeting on Friday with five weeks ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline to reach an agreement, and Manfred remains cautious optimistic that there will be no loss of work.
“I believe in the process,” said Manfred. “We meet regularly and I hope we can find a way to reach an agreement by December 1st.”
Is there any progress?
“It’s hard to characterize progress,” said Manfred. “Progress is that you walk into a room, have conversations, people keep talking. They’re not moving in any measurable way that I could figure out, and I’ve been doing this for a long time.
“The most important point is that I know that our clubs are 100% committed to having an agreement in place by December 1st. The most important thing is not a paragraph. The most important thing in a collective agreement is to make an agreement . ” ”
Clark said negotiation sessions are “formal and informal” but refused to characterize the state of the conversation, only to say he remained a “glass-half-full guy”. He says that after a decade of tanking touched a significant number of teams, the union will continue to insist on competitive integrity among all 30 franchises.
“The desire is for all teams to play to win every game, every night. That’s the focus. We will highlight that.
Everyone wins when we find ourselves in a world where all 30 teams do everything on a given evening to set up the best possible ball club and win the game that evening.
The playing time last season was a record of 3 hours, 10 minutes, and Manfred hit his again Desire to shorten the playing times less than three hours, including a pitch clock.
“The playing time is a strange number for me,” said Manfred. “Here’s what I’m saying, at one point we are going to make every effort to bring the best baseball to the fans on the field.”
Manfred will push for a pitch clock again in the hope that the players union will agree, but if not, he will have the power to unilaterally implement new rules.
“We have the right to do certain things under the agreement,” said Manfred, “with a certain process. At some point there will be enough pressure to change. I prefer to do this by making an agreement with the players. “
MLB has experimented with a pitch clock, larger bases, and limited pickoff throws in the Arizona Fall League and Minor Leagues, which has resulted in a significant reduction in playing times.
“The data is certainly encouraging,” said Manfred, “playing times in the 2:40s, which is a nice number compared to our times before. I think more important than that is that the people who watch the game do that Feeling like the pace of the game, the action of the game, has really improved, it actually changes the requirement to move along the pitching, changes the way the game is played a little bit.
“That would be a sensible change.”
Manfred said MLB still lost money last season, but certainly not the $ 3 billion level it lost a year ago during the pandemic.
“Our losses will be much, much, much smaller than last year,” said Manfred. “I’m not going to publish a number now. I have to say the return of fans to the ballpark has been faster and more dramatic than we forecast this season. We’re going to have losses this season, but they’re going to be much, much, much smaller. “
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred won’t restrict Atlanta’s tomahawk chop