WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at the National Press Club July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. The MLB All-Star game will be held tomorrow at Nationals Park.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Based on how MLB commissioner Rob Manfred treats the game of baseball, his first experience at a game probably went something like this.

“My first baseball game”

By Robert Manfred, grade 2

Over the weekend, my dad took me to my first baseball game ever. It was fun! I loved watching the game and seeing all the different ways money was involved.

We drove to the stadium, and my dad got angry that he had to pay $20 to park in the parking lot. I didn’t understand. I said, “Dad, who gets the $20 once we give it to them? Do they give it to the players?”

My dad said, “No, it goes in some fat-cat owner’s pocket.” I thought that was really neat. Maybe one day, fat cats can put money in my pocket.

We took the stairs to the upper deck. The field looked really green! It reminded me of the color of money. That made me think that it was probably really expensive for the fat cats to keep the field so nice, so I asked my dad how they did it. He pointed down at the field and showed me the groundskeepers. The groundskeepers made me angry. I’ll bet they only work a few hours a day, just to keep some grass and dirt looking nice, and still make the fat cats pay them.

Later, before the game started, my dad took me to the snack stand. He asked whether I wanted a hamburger or a hot dog. I got a hot dog because I think it probably cost a lot less to make. I don’t want to make the owners pay people to cut up the meat and layer it with the lettuce and the cheese and stuff. My dad also bought me a little batting helmet, but I don’t like it. It’s just a piece of plastic.

The scoreboard also looked expensive. It was the biggest board I had ever seen in my life, and it had all sorts of videos and sounds and funny things. Couldn’t baseball do without that? I asked my dad, and he said “It’s part of the stadium experience.” I said, “But don’t you feel bad that the fat cats had to pay so much money for it?”

The game was very exciting. The leadoff hitter hit a home run! There was lots of loud music and cheering, which was cool (although probably expensive). I think home runs should happen more often. It’s hard to hit home runs because a baseball is pretty heavy and the laces stick out. Baseball should change that. There’s no use in any play that’s not a home run.

The game was tied in the seventh inning. A lefty was batting, so the manager decided to bring in a lefty pitcher to go against him. The pitcher got the batter out, but then the manager came right back out and brought in another pitcher! I asked my dad why they were changing pitchers after only one batter. I don’t even think that should be allowed.

My dad said, “Don’t worry about that, Rob…look at the pitcher coming in! He’s our closer, he’s the best!”

“Dad,” I said, “Forget about the closer. That bad lefty should have to pitch some more.”

The closer got the out and ended the inning. It was still a tie game in the ninth. During the break between the two halves of the inning, my dad asked me if I had to go to the bathroom. He said we should go now so we didn’t miss anything.

“Definitely not,” I said. “There’s a 100% chance I don’t have to go to the bathroom.”

In the bottom of the ninth, the first two guys got out. Then a big star hitter came up. My dad told me the other day that he’s about to be a free agent, which means he can go to any team he wants and make a lot of money. When he came to bat, I remembered that, and the thought of him taking so much money from the fat cats made me so mad that I had to go to the bathroom. My dad didn’t like that: he told me that I’d just said two minutes ago that I definitely didn’t have to go. So I told him, “I think that’s a bad-faith gesture on your part, dad.”

Fortunately, we made it back just in time to see what happened. The superstar took a giant swing and hit a walk-off home run. The entire crowd was cheering, but I just got more annoyed about how much money this greedy, selfish superstar was going to make. There was another kid a few seats down. He looked really happy, cheering like crazy, jumping up and down, wearing a new baseball cap and holding a pennant, soaking in the magic of his first baseball game. He looked like such an idiot.

I have followed New York sports passionately for almost my entire life, since I went to Shea Stadium in 2004 and saw Jae Seo lose 8-1 to the Pirates. At journalism school, I once missed covering a Land Use Committee meeting to write about Jacob deGrom's last start of the year.