Once upon a time, we learned that Major League Baseball was considering rules changes to improve pace of play. While I fundamentally agree with the premise of getting more action and less dead time, I was not too keen on some of the proposed changes. During a recent press appearance, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about these rules changes. You can check out the blurb at MLBTR here and Brett’s blurb at Bleacher Nation here in order to see all the relevant news.
In a nutshell, Manfred is somewhat displeased with the MLB Players Union for blocking many of the proposed changes, including limiting mound visits and the pitch clock. For the time being, we don’t have to worry about the stupid man on second in extras rule, and it seems that MLB has no real desire to bring it above the low minors anyway. The problem is that we have to deal with something that the players seem to have overlooked in the latest collective bargaining agreement negotiations…
Manfred says CBA allows owners to make unilateral changes to rules as soon as next year.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) February 21, 2017
It’s amusing that Dabynsky wrote the thing about the Simpsons baseball episode today as I also had a Simpsons-related thought as I saw the word “unilateral” being used (comes on around 0:25 of the clip):
There is labor peace at this point, and will be for the next five seasons, but I imagine that the players giving up so much (in terms of a salary cap, international spending limits, and now seemingly control over rules changes) will make it harder for the owners to give those benefits back. I’m inclined to think that MLB won’t ever try to shoehorn in that terrible extra innings speed-up rule, but they will make players work a little faster, just as it was in high school and college ball. Ultimately, a better pace of play would help keep our interest more, even if we are hardcore fans of the game. I just hope that whenever the owners and MLB ratify new rules, they’re making sure they implement rules that won’t make the game unrecognizable.
UPDATE 7:11 PM: This one isn’t terrible…
Team and MLBPA sources are telling me baseball has approved a dugout signal for an intentional walk, effective for 2017 season. More coming.
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) February 22, 2017
Well, that isn’t too bad. Intentional walks don’t happen all that often and it would keep the pitcher fresh for the next batter up.