LOS ANGELES, CA — MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and his 37-year-old Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Morgan Sword, have struck again. There will be more rule changes to our game again this coming season, which I will get to later. But first, let’s take a look at the background of the two people who implement the changes that come to the game of baseball.
Manfred stopped playing baseball in the eighth grade and took up tennis. He has a B.A. degree from Cornell University and a law degree from Harvard. Sword got his education at the University of Virginia, where he Graduated with a B.A. degree in economics and an MBA from Columbia Business School in N.Y. Both are brilliant and accomplished men today.
But what do they really know about the game of baseball? Absolutely, they understand business and labor laws as they work for the owners who are primarily concerned about making a sizable profit. Sure, they listen to the people on the Competition Committee, who have suggestions for “Speeding up the game” and making it more exciting. Though the owners make the ultimate decision, the commissioner can convince them one way or the other on what is best for baseball.
If the owners feel it will improve their profits and the game on the field, they will give the go-ahead to whatever changes will be made to please the fans who feed their bank accounts. Still trying to figure it out? By the way, the changes are as follows as per MLB.
Voted on by the Competition Committee, which is comprised of six owners, four players, and an umpire, the new rules will include shortening the pitch clock with runners on base. The time between pitches with runners on base will now be 18 seconds, down from 20. With the bases empty, the pitch clock remains 15 seconds.
The number of mound visits decreased from five to four, and a pitcher sent to the mound to warm up between innings must now face at least one batter. Lastly, the runner’s lane towards first base will now include the space between the foul line and the infield grass. That adds 18 to 24 inches to the runner’s lane.
By the way, the MLB Players Association released a statement after the league’s announcement of these new rules that players had voted against the rule changes.
Remember this: all the rule changes in the last few years were meant to speed up the game and excite the fans. How about teaching young prospects to pitch more than five innings and hitters to do situational hitting instead of trying only to hit home runs? How about giving us a game that doesn’t make us feel we are in a physics or math class? Spin rates, launch angles, ISO, BABIP, wRRA, wOBA.
Whatever happened to “See the ball, hit the ball?”
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