MLB legend Rod Carew and several other Hall of Famers confronted Rob Manfred in Cooperstown

MLB legend Rod Carew led an all-out verbal assault on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in Cooperstown, and he didn’t handle it well.

It’s custom for the commissioner of baseball to have a private dinner with all the Hall of Famers in Cooperstown the weekend of the ceremony. Typically, the conversation is predictably about baseball, and the state of the game today.

In recent years, that conversation has become more contentious, and reached a boiling point in late July. Carew and a group of other Hall of Famers raised their voices about what they perceived to be issues with the game today. Manfred was clearly taken aback, and has since openly complained about Carew making that conversation public. Typically, that dinner has a ‘what happens in Cooperstown, stays in Cooperstown’ feel. Not this year.

Ken Rosenthal outlined the dinner, and Carew’s issues, in his article in The Athletic:

“The objections raised by the Hall of Famers include the rise of defensive shifts and the offensive emphasis on launch angle, as well as rules changes such as the three-batter minimum and automatic runner on second base in extra innings. Their laments occasionally drift into “get off my lawn territory,” and Jim Kaat said some of them do not understand the pervasiveness of analytics and Manfred’s limited ability to effect change.”

How much control does Rob Manfred actually have?

Manfred, while given a powerful position and a cushy salary, works for the owners. There’s only so much he can do to make the game better for players. For that, he needs the abidance of the MLBPA, first and foremost.

Speaking of, those two sides have made some progress to change the game for the better. Namely, MLB hopes to speed up games and limit shifts, one of the issues Carew brought up extensively.

The three-batter minimum, along with other rule changes to make the game more interesting, have thus far worked. But all are subject to change.

Sadly, for Carew and many of the old heads in baseball, the game is merely moving forward in hopes of intriguing a new generation of viewers. Those who don’t change with it are left behind, for better or worse.