NEW YORK — Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gifted team players with Bose headphones on Opening Day as a peace offering after a bitter 99-day lockout delayed the start of the season.
Major League Baseball confirmed that the headphones and a letter signed by Manfred were left in each player’s locker when teams began their seasons on Thursday and Friday. The present was first reported by The Athletic.
“Please accept this gift as a small gesture of my appreciation for the hard work that goes into being a Major League Baseball player and your respect for our amazing fans,” Manfred wrote. “Thank you for all you do on a game that has such a rich history and deep meaning to our fans in the US and around the world. I wish you the best of luck for a successful season.”
Manfred’s relationship with players has grown increasingly chilly since he succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner in 2014.
At the news conference announcing an agreement with the union to end this winter’s lockout, Manfred admitted he had failed in his diplomatic role with the players and vowed to improve the relationship.
Asked what Manfred could do to fix things this spring, players told The Associated Press the commissioner could do more to present himself as a steward of the game. At least one player, the pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Adam WainwrightHe said he thought the damage was irreparable.
“To put it bluntly, he doesn’t do anything for us,” Wainwright said. “I know how that will read, so Commissioner Manfred, don’t take it personally. That’s what it looks like from the players’ point of view.”
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Manfred gives away headphones to gamers due to lockdown