There might not be a greater villain in the sports world right now that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. What should’ve been a no-brainer process to get baseball back up and running in a country starved for sports has been bungled to levels unseen in a long time. A standoff remains ongoing between players and owners over money distribution. Owners want to slash salaries. Players won’t agree. Thus the two sides have remained deadlocked. Manfred then delivered what many believe to be the kill shot on the 2020 season. A day after the players rejected the owners’ latest proposal, the commissioner stated he no longer has confidence games will be played.

This has led to a furious outcry from fans and players alike. Players are calling Manfred a liar for stating barely days ago that games would be played then pulling a complete 180. Fans are calling him a buffoon for letting this situation spin wildly out of control. The great irony of all this is the disaster could’ve been avoided had people listened to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

Back in 2014, the MLB was conducting a search for the successor to Bud Selig who’d served as commissioner of the league since 1998. Selig campaigned for his right-hand man Manfred to get the position. A lot of owners were perfectly fine with that idea. Reinsdorf was not. Which was a big surprise since he’d been an ardent backer of Selig.

Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reported on what the concerns were.

“But as Mr. Selig’s final season unfolds, Mr. Manfred’s candidacy is meeting turbulence from an unexpected antagonist: Jerry Reinsdorf, the 78-year-old owner of the Chicago White Sox and long one of Mr. Selig’s most loyal allies in the game. Mr. Reinsdorf has broken ranks and tried to upend the plan to slide Mr. Manfred into the commissioner’s office on Park Avenue, several owners say.

In discussions with other owners, Mr. Reinsdorf has raised questions about Mr. Selig’s transparency as commissioner and argued that Mr. Selig should play only an advisory role in picking his successor. Mr. Reinsdorf argued that, unlike owners who have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in their teams, Mr. Selig has no ownership in the game after he retires.”

Jerry Reinsdorf had Rob Manfred pegged from the jump

People can question Reinsdorf as a successful owner, but it’s clear now that he was right on the money with Manfred. The moment things got a little tough, the former New York lawyer resorted to what he does best. Lie, cheat, and steal in order to satisfy the people signing his checks. Reinsdorf felt a situation like this might come up and he was absolutely correct.

Now professional baseball may not see the light of day in 2020. This already on the heels of the Houston Astros scandal. Two gigantic black eyes for the league. Don’t forget what happened to baseball after the 1994 strike. Attendance and viewership dropped 20%. It took a decade to return near the original levels. This time could be so much worse and there’s no telling how teams might be affected.