Manfred: Postseason 'a nice mix of markets'

Commissioner attends Game 4 of the ALCS at Rogers Centre

Manfred: Postseason 'a nice mix of markets'

TORONTO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made his second visit to Rogers Centre on Tuesday, as part of a postseason tour that has also included stops in Chicago, Kansas City and New York. During a brief meeting with reporters prior to the Royals' 14-2 victory over the Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series (Game 5, Wednesday on Fox Sports 1 and Sportsnet at 3 p.m. ET, game time at 4 p.m.), Manfred touched on a variety of topics, including the wide appeal of this year's postseason teams, as well as a couple of incidents from Game 3 of the ALCS.

In regards to the action this October, the first-year Commissioner believes the postseason has been "great so far," with "a nice mix of markets."

Shop for postseason gear: Royals | Blue Jays

Three of the four Division Series -- Royals-Astros, Blue Jays-Rangers, Mets-Dodgers -- went the maximum five games, with Cubs-Cardinals a captivating matchup in its own right. Now, whoever wins the World Series will snap a drought of at least 22 years.

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 16 KC 5, TOR 0
Gm 2 Oct. 17 KC 6, TOR 3
Gm 3 Oct. 19 TOR 11, KC 8
Gm 4 Oct. 20 KC 14, TOR 2
Gm 5 Oct. 21 TOR 7, KC 1
Gm 6 Oct. 23 KC 4, TOR 3

"I think it's important for fans in all 30 markets to see franchises that haven't been there for a while turn it around and do well," Manfred said. "We had great examples of that here, with the Mets, Houston, and I think it helps our fans have open faith, which is important over the long haul."

Manfred was also asked about the accusations of sign stealing that came up during the late stages of Edinson Volquez's pregame news conference. The Royals right-hander recalled a conversation with Monday's starter, Johnny Cueto, who was concerned that Toronto was relaying signs to its batters.

Volquez nixes talk of Blue Jays sign-stealing

"It's interesting," Manfred said. "I think that stealing signs is something that's often claimed, rarely proven in baseball. I'm not going to say anything more than that."

Manfred also addressed another incident in Game 3: Troy Tulowitzki getting ejected by home-plate umpire and crew chief John Hirschbeck for arguing balls and strikes -- a turn of events that could've haunted the Blue Jays had the Royals completed their ninth-inning comeback in an eventual 11-8 loss.

Tulowitzki struck out looking on a borderline pitch in the seventh inning, then exchanged words with Hirschbeck from his position as the next half inning resumed, prompting the ejection. Tulowitzki later intimated that Hirschbeck sought him out, saying: "I'm walking out to the field and he's looking at me. And I told him that wasn't a strike."

Hirschbeck on Tulo: 'He had several warnings'

Hirschbeck told that Tulowitzki had "several warnings" and that he "tried to keep him in the game."

"I think our umpires do a really good job of keeping players in the game," Manfred said. "I would never second-guess somebody like John Hirschbeck. We don't know exactly what the exchange was between the two of them, but I'm sure that if an experienced, veteran crew chief like John Hirschbeck decided an ejection was appropriate, then it was appropriate."

Manfred also addressed the status of the Blue Jays' retractable roof, which has been closed for each of their five home postseason games. Generally speaking, the club keeps the roof closed at temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius (roughly 60 degrees Fahrenheit) or below. The game-time temperatures for Games 3 and 4 hovered right around that range, though there were scattered showers leading up to the first pitch of Game 4.

Blue Jays fans, for the most part, want the roof open. Some began an online campaign leading up to Game 5 of the AL Division Series that included a trending "Open The Dome" hashtag and a petition with more than 20,000 signatures.

Manfred prefers to leave that decision up to the club, though the league has final say during the postseason.

"What we try to do is follow the guidelines locally," he said. "My general thinking on things like this is that the individual clubs locally know best what should happen in their stadium. When they have guidelines, the most prudent thing to do is to follow them."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.