Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the media at Fenway Park on Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Commissioner Rob Manfred discusses Red Sox strike zone issues, fan safety, DraftKings

John Tomase
June 16, 2015 - 12:58 pm

Commissioner Rob Manfred had a message for Red Sox hitters Tuesday: The league isn't out to get them. Making a regularly scheduled stop in Boston as part of a tour of big league cities, Manfred addressed Red Sox players and was asked about the widening strike zone. "This issue came up in the Red Sox clubhouse today," Manfred said. "I'll tell you what I told them. There has been absolutely no direction to umpires to expand the strike zone, or to expand in conjunction with the pace of game effort. Our sole and exclusive focus with respect to the strike zone has been to make sure we're calling the rulebook strike as closely as possible and as on uniform a basis as possible across umpires." Manfred touched on a number of other topics as well. On the increased use of netting to protect fans in the wake of the horrifying injury suffered at Fenway Park recently by Tonya Carpenter: "We have been focused on a variety of remedies that could be used to address this problem. They include things like additional bat regulations, wrapping of bats, increased netting. I think it's important as we move forward with this that we keep all the available options on the table and make the best decision to make sure that our fans are as safe as possible." On the importance of daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings to grow the interest of the sport: "I think some great man once said people have voted with their feet on this one. I think fantasy sports, daily games, are a really important part of fan engagement. It's one of the reasons we were so interested in expanding our relationship with DraftKings. It's another way for fans to be interested in the game on a daily basis, and I think it's an important issue for us going forward. "Look, the federal government defined what's fantasy and what's gambling. We spent, believe me, a lot of time and effort analyzing the games on the DraftKings site with our own internal staff and outside experts, and we were comfortable with the idea that they were fantasy games within the definition of federal law." On the story that broke Tuesday alleging the Cardinals hacked the computers of the Astros: "What has been reported, and we knew about it well in advance of the report is there is an ongoing investigation with respect to an unauthorized entry into Houston's system. To use, to assume that investigation is going to produce a particular result with respect to the Cardinals, let alone to jump to a word like cyber attack, we don't know that those are the facts yet. There is an ongoing investigation. We've been fully cooperative. Obviously any allegation like this, no matter how serious it turns out to be, is of great concern to us but it's just too early to speculate on what the facts are going to turn out to be and what action, if any, is necessary."