Rob Manfred got a phone call. It was “one of our more senior owners,” as the commissioner put it, and they began talking about the number of employees who work on, well, numbers.

“You know, I don’t know what this analytics thing is, but I have, like, 75 guys,” the owner told him. “What I want to do is, I would spend a week in the analytics department. I was going to figure out what the hell these guys do.”

“So, how’d it go?” the commissioner asked.

“Well, you know, I got a lot of smart guys down there,” the owner said, “but I am absolutely convinced that analytics is an arms race to nowhere.”

Manfred told that story to laughter Wednesday during an executive luncheon hosted by the Paley Media Council in New York. And he chose to tell it because he agrees with the sentiment.

“It’s become one of my favorite lines because I think it’s actually true,” Manfred said.

Manfred’s hour-long conversation centered mainly on the sport’s new playing rules — rules that are, of course, largely a response to the way baseball evolved as teams pushed toward efficiency and analytics. That anecdote came up in a conversation about the defensive shift; moderator Tom Verducci’s question was about whether the new ban would remove an edge that some teams had built for themselves.