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Manfred is actually the quintessential parent from your middle school days

There’s no “eye-for-an-eye” in the Manfred world.

2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings
LOL Chaim Bloom and Rob Manfred in one photo. How perfect.
Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Yes, this Houston Astros illegal sign-stealing scandal is still being talked about (and it’ll be talked about for decades), but it’s not being handled the greatest by the offending team nor the commissioner of Major League Baseball. Robert Manfred said on ESPN yesterday morning that any in-game retaliation against the Astros would result in “increased punishments” and that pitchers throwing at Houston batters is inappropriate. He also held a news conference yesterday saying that in a perfect world, he would have penalized Astros players.

Bizarrely enough, Manfred is actually the parent of one of your middle school classmates. Remember Jimmy Manfred? He was probably about three to four inches taller than you in the sixth grade and roughed you up on more than one occasion, especially since you shared about four of the five classes with each other every day. Snot-nosed Jimmy.

One day, Jimmy came up to you when you guys got off the bus after school and punched you in the chest, fracturing a rib. “What the heck, Jimmy?” you asked between gasps for breaths. “That’s what you get for not letting me peek at your test during math class today, wimp!” he replied as he walked away. You were lying on the ground for a few minutes before you mustered the courage to fight through the aching pain that was your cracked rib to get up and walk the three blocks home and tell your mother what happened.

“Oh okay, well I’ll call his mom, then,” your mother said as she was slicing onions to put into the beef stroganoff for supper that night. “Did you hit him back?” asked your father over the newspaper. You shook your head. “Gotta hit him back next time.” You dragged your backpack up the stairs to your room and sat on your bed until suppertime.

After supper, you could hear your mom on the phone calling up the Manfred’s to ask what happened. Of course, your mom and Jimmy’s mom were best friends—and had been to many Tupperware parties over the past year. Your fathers were in the same Thursday night bowling league, and would go fishing on Saturday mornings when the weather allowed it. The phone call was full of laughter as you sat at the table doing homework, the aching pain still noticeable from the rib. “Okay, see you in a few, hon,” said your mom before she hung up the phone.

A few minutes later, the doorbell rang and Mr. Manfred, Mrs. Manfred, and Jimmy were at the door. Your mom answers and she asks you to come to the door. Jimmy is standing there, and Mrs. Manfred tells him to apologize. Jimmy mumbles something. “James Wilfred Manfred, tell him that you’re sorry right this instant!” scolds Mrs. Manfred. Mr. Manfred gives him a light hit on the back of the head. “I’M SORRY,” blurts Jimmy, not making eye contact with anyone. The parents chit-chat for a bit while you and Jimmy stand there awkwardly before the Manfred’s head back home a few doors down.

You stay up a good portion of the night thinking about the situation. Jimmy didn’t get punished, or at least it seemed like he didn’t. Your rib still hurts a helluva ton and your parents didn’t really care about that. So it’s only right to hit Jimmy back. Your dad even said so.

The next morning, you walk to the bus stop. Jimmy’s standing around talking with another classmate. “Hey, Jimmy,” you say as you speed up your pace towards him. With a right hook you land a blow to his face and he hits the ground. “What the hell?” says Jimmy as he holds his hands to his face. You tell him, “That’s for yesterday.” The bus comes and everyone gets on and sits down. The bus driver notices Jimmy’s face all bloodied up and walks him into the school when they arrive. You’re called out of class to the principal’s office.

Suspended from school for a week. Grounded for a month. Maybe some more chores as added punishment.

But what trouble did Jimmy get in? None.