A symbolic vote of no confidence in Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred on behalf of fans
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The only way, outside of death or resignation, for a Commissioner of Baseball to be ousted from his office is through a vote of no confidence from a majority of the existing Major League Baseball clubs' owners. This change.org "petition" is not intended to oust sitting Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr., as fans co-signing this movement are fully aware that no such action can be forced by fans. Rather, it is to serve as a symbolic vote of no confidence on behalf of the millions of baseball fans across North America and beyond, with hopes that if it gains significant attention, the Commissioner and club owners will be forced to recognize the widespread displeasure with the state of the game and act accordingly.
In recent months, it has come to light that the Commissioner was made aware in 2017 of at least one club's attempts to illegally decode signs from opposing catchers using cameras and other technological means. In response, the Commissioner issued a memo to all 30 clubs warning against any future use of technology to decode or obtain signs from opponents in real time. The lack of awareness, prior to the issuance of this memo, that technologically decoding or obtaining signs was an issue in the sport demonstrates a severe lack of foresight unacceptable for the Commissioner, who bears responsibility to maintain the integrity of the game. With this lack of foresight comes the proven inability to be effectively proactive in achieving this goal, a fact that should deeply concern both fans and players of MLB.
Worse than this lack of foresight and inability to effectively be proactive in maintaining the sport's integrity is the Commissioner's demonstrated incapability of being properly reactive to violations of the sport's rules. The aforementioned memo issued by the Commissioner's office, intended to act as a deterrent from future cases of technological sign stealing, proved in time to be completely ineffective as the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and possibly other clubs ignored the memo altogether. A commissioner who lacks the foresight to be properly proactive should, at very least, possess the competence to respond to rule violations in a manner that seriously deters clubs from future violations. The demonstration of a commissioner to have neither of these skills should not inspire confidence, in anyone, that he can ably oversee the sport.
The adequacy of the Commissioner's punishment against the Houston Astros, and the legitimacy of the contents of his January 13 report detailing his office's investigation into the club's violations of his 2017 memo, are matters of personal opinion. His handling of other topical issues, such as his plan to remove 42 clubs from Minor League Baseball--a movement vehemently disapproved by Congress--or his player-condemned proposal to add 4 teams to the yearly Postseason competition are also subject to individual assessment. But Robert Manfred Jr.'s inability to be sufficiently proactive or reactive in preventing breaches of the sport's integrity are not; they have been indisputably proven by his actions since 2017 regarding illegal sign stealing, and further emphasized by his lack of accountability conveyed in every interview and official notice released since the scandal began in November.
If these facts have lead you to the same conclusion reached by the author of this movement--that Robert Manfred Jr. does not have the confidence of you, a dedicated and paying fan, to occupy the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball--then I ask you to co-sign this "petition" and share it with other fans of Major League Baseball in hopes of gaining traction and attention across social media.
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