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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ‘excited’ for 2022 after poor offseason

NEW YORK — He was vilified and mocked from coast to coast.

Major League Baseball players openly reprimanded him. Frustrated fans just blamed him. He was a living piñata for the media.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred might have been the most hated man in all of sports during that 99-day lockout.

Here we are, with Opening Day arriving a week late on Thursday, and a day even later for the latest chapter in the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry. His season opener, with Manfred in attendance, was postponed until Friday at Yankee Stadium.

“I’ve never looked forward to a season like this,” Manfred told USA TODAY Sports in a wide-ranging interview. “I think given the last two seasons, the idea of ​​having normal, unrestricted fans in the stadium is a really exciting thing for me.

“I can’t wait for this one to go live.”

It’s been a torturous three years for baseball, with the COVID pandemic cutting the 2020 season short. The season was limited to just 60 games after Manfred finally implemented it following a nasty labor dispute. No fans were allowed in ballparks during the regular season, with only restricted seating during the NLCS and World Series in Texas.

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