MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Gifts $200 Post-Lockout Headphones

    • He reportedly gave each major-leaguer a pair of headphones.
    • There has been tension between Manfred and the players since he took over as Commissioner in 2015.

After a contentious 99-day lockout, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is attempting to repair player relations with a gift.

Prior to last week’s Opening Day, all players reportedly found gift boxes containing $199.99 Beats Fit Pro headphones in their lockers, accompanied by a letter from Manfred calling them “a small gesture of my appreciation for the hard work that comes with being a Major Leaguer.”

There has been tension between Manfred and the players since he took over as Commissioner in 2015, mostly due to decreasing payrolls. In 2021, payrolls around the league fell 4% — the combined $4.05 billion was the lowest for a full season since ’15 — which contributed to the work stoppage from Dec. 2 until a new collective bargaining agreement was reached on March 10.

While players didn’t get everything they asked for financially, the sides agreed to allow teams to spend as much as $20 million more on payroll and pay more to players not yet arbitration-eligible.

During spring training, Manfred met with players in both Arizona and Florida in an effort to mend fences.

As for the headphones: On Monday, Cubs players union representative Ian Happ told WSCR-AM 670 in Chicago, “I don’t know that a bunch of guys across the league were jumping up and down, but it’s a step in the right direction.”