“King for a Day-in Baseball”
Rob Manfred is the Commissioner of Baseball.
His sport is making money hand over fist, thanks to a rebirth in the interest of the game, the arrival of the next generation of great players, the growth of talent from abroad.
But for every exciting World Series, All Star game, home run from Aaron Judge or dominant pitching performance from Clayton Kershaw, there are always issues.
And Manfred has his hands full right now.
Pace of Play…Are the games too long? Some think that’s what makes the game so enduring is there is no clock. But the TV partners want shorter games, and are demanding a diminish in dead time. Look for new rules to be inserted next season, despite a push back from the union.
Strike Zone…Manfred may unilatterly invoke a different strike zone next year…raising it to the top of the knee to the letters on the jersey. It would mean the end of the low strike, and more hittable balls, and thus more runs in games.
Umpires….When MLB took over control of umpires during the Bud Selig era, it was to deliver more consistency from the umps working in both leagues. That consistency has drifted away over the last two years, with weird strike zones and constant issues about ball and strike calls.
Pitch Clock…It’s working in the minor leagues, the :20 pitch clock. It will be put into place next year despite the objections of the Union. Games lastted (2:56) in 2014…went up to (3:00) last season, and this year are going a full 3-hours and 5-minutes (3:05) in duration.
Visits to the Mound…This won’t happen because it involves strategy. Ditto for limited catchers trips to the mound, or the number of pitching changes a club can make in an inning. That’s too radical.
The Shift…Teams are figuring it out in year two, and there won’t be any ban on that either, for that is basic stragtegy in the game. Batters are going the other way with swins and its impact is less today than a year ago today.
Instant Replay…They have sped up the process and done a better job this year. Stadiums are so very different, that you still have quirky calls.
Mic the Ump…It is a big debate as to whether fans deserve an explanation form the home plate umpire about the decisions made on instant replay. It would help clarify the rules and aid the fans in terms of knowledge.
Batters Box Rules…It’s still an issue even if a rule was put in place to stop hitters from acting as human rain delays. Enforce it. Prevent them from stepping out of the box to adjust their batting gloves between each pitch.
4-Pitch Intentional Walk…The rules change has meant very little since there are just 1-intentional walks per every four games.
September Callups…Lots of debate last winter but nothing was done to limit teams callups from the minors for the final month of the season, when rosters go from 25-to-40. The debate that was proposed, you can have 40, but can suit up only 28-for the final month of the season, makes lots of sense. They haven’t acted on it yet though.
Disabled List…The decision to go from 15-to-a 10-day DL has helped clubs get healthier players on the roster at a quicker pace.
Concussion DL…Superb decision to put players on a 7-day Concussion disabled list for examination-while replacing him on the roster.
Schedules…Look for this next year. A shorter spring training-who needs 35-games in the Cactus League and Grapefruit Circuit. Next up will be to start the season the last week in March, though scheduling games in cold weather cities might be tough. Adding at least 4-off days during the regular season will be huge in terms of resting players. Do not expect doubleheaders to be part of the schedule.
Global Draft…Nice in theory but is not happening, though the new salary cap rules for international signings has produced a way to prevent the wild spending sprees of clubs over recent years. There’s no way to properly invoke a global draft since the sanctioning bodies in Japan-Mexico and Latin America have such different rules about acquiring players.
Expansion…No progress for a decade or so on the Oakland A’s–Tampa Bay Rays Stadium issues. Manfred admits Charlotte, Montreal, Mexico City, maybe even Las Vegas warrant consideration, but those prospective cities have to build Stadiums before anything would be considered.
NL-DH….Would be nice to have uniform rules for both leagues, but there seems to be no interest to balance it out, and that’s hard to understand. Would you rather see a pitcher (Average BA .092) or an a veteran bat in the twilight of his career (.290) hitting in the NL?
You be ‘King for a Day-in Baseball’ and solve the issues.