NEW YORK—Downplaying reports that youth interest in the sport was steadily declining, commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters Thursday that he was confident that the MLB was doing enough to market its star players such as Mike Trout and “Japanese guy.” “We know that stars help sell the sport and that’s why we’re putting all our resources behind that Dominican dude, Aaron something, and that guy with the beard who is real good,” said Manfred, crediting Clayton Kershaw and “some of the other Dodgers” as bonafide superstars who can help grow the game on a global scale. “Some people might say that we no longer have household names, but that clearly isn’t true when you look at a guy like the second or third baseman of the Mets. We can definitely do more community outreach projects to put that one guy in front of young people, but we’re doing just fine. I’m always encouraged to see how many Number 55 jerseys are flying off the shelves these days. Plus, I just saw a somebody holding a bat in a Nike commercial, so that’s a pretty good sign.” Manfred ended his press conference by saying that as long as Derek Jeter was still playing, baseball would always have a recognizable face of the sport.
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