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MLB fans split on performance of Commissioner Rob Manfred

Meanwhile, team confidence went down slightly among A’s fans.

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. A’s fans, click HERE to learn more and join FanPulse.

Baseball fans around the country were asked last week if they approved of the job being done by Commissioner Rob Manfred, and the results were mixed. The final tally was 48% approval.

Manfred took over as Commish in 2015, so we’re now in his fifth year at the helm. When he took over, his stated goals included pace of play, youth outreach, embracing technology, and strengthening player relations.

The most notable part of his early legacy so far is probably his effort to address the pace of play, including but not limited to changing the rules of the game itself. We’ve already seen a limit put on the number of mound visits teams can make to talk to their pitchers, and next year will bring the three-batter minimum for pitchers, among other things.

While the pace of play discussion has been the most visible topic, perhaps the more important issue is player relations. They haven’t been worse in years, due to a free agent market that has deteriorated faster than the CBA can evolve to correct it. Tensions rose high enough that the two sides began negotiating earlier than ever on their next deal, as whispers of potential work stoppages floated around all winter.

I’m actually surprised to see Manfred’s approval as high as it is. Baseball is a sport steeped in long-standing tradition, and fans are usually highly reluctant to change. And Manfred isn’t just fiddling around on the margins, but rather tossing out extreme ideas like putting a free runner on second base in extra innings. And frankly, some of the proposals he’s floated have been really bad. We’ll see where things go from here!

As for the normal weekly questions about the A’s, here are the latest results.

  • Confidence in direction of team: 72% (down from 85%)
  • Confidence in manager: 82% (down from 93%)

At the time of the survey, the A’s had just split four games with Texas, after beating the Angels on the road. Since then, they won a series against the Rays and lost one against the Mariners. We’ll take a closer look at the Oakland confidence polls next time.