Red Sox

MLB Notebook: Onus on Rob Manfred to get game in order; Cherington returns; Bloom readies alternate approach

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(Getty Images)

Major League Baseball already had plenty on its plate.

The relationship between labor and management is, by most accounts, the worst it's been in a quarter century. Attendance has dipped across the sport for three straight years. Efforts to quicken the pace of play have largely been unsuccessful. And the industry is at a loss to explain the dramatic increase in home runs this past year, despite the rather obvious explanation that the baseballs -- manufactured by a company now owned by MLB -- have quite obviously changed.

Add to that a criminal investigation that an employee of the Los Angeles Angels may have helped contribute to the shocking death of Tyler Skaggs this past summer, the revelation that one of its umpires threatened violence over a political matter and an ugly bit of misogynistic clubhouse bullying on the part of a Houston front office executive and it's been rough sledding for Major League Baseball.

And then, this past week, it actually got worse.

Extensive evidence and first-hand accounts seemed to clearly demonstrate that one of the sport's most successful franchises, the Houston Astros, participated in a scheme in which camera and video monitors inside Minute Maid Park helped the home team decode opponents' signs in 2017, and, perhaps, beyond. (The Astros, while a wildly talented team, went 60-21 at home in 2019).

MLB is now conducting an exhaustive investigation of the matter, interviewing current and former players and coaches. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the Astros' bench coach when they won the World Series in 2017, has