Does The Commissioner Of Baseball Understand Baseball?

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It needs to be said and put out there: There is a chance that the Major League Baseball’s commissioner might not totally get the game which we call Baseball.

 

Since January 2015, Rob Manfred has been manning the chief seat of Baseball. Manfred’s forerunner has been more or less a caretaker, conscientiously obeying team owners’ interests in altercations between the proprietor and the passenger, and sort of letting the on-field product be. Contrarily, Manfred frequently tosses fanatical and radical ideas around – even if his one idea totally debunks his last one.

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Image Source: Maxima Beuth Photographer @ Zimbio.com

Is Manfred Totally Wrong?

Manfred is of the opinion that all of the baseball fans are either white or too old for the future sustainment of the game. Clearly, the kind of fans baseball has are a community that other sports and leagues would kill to have. Reason being the money they have and the fact that they love spending it on their favorite sport. However, Manfred is not wrong here. This fact, which does not seem like a problem right now, may become a serious problem in future. When the time comes of Boomers to leave the earth, the fanbase of Baseball will be left abandoned and a ghost of its former glory. Manfred is of opinion that the Baseball game ought to be revolutionized in the sense that its duration shortens, there are more action and more scoring opportunities – this will, hopefully, attract the young audience and help the Baseball fan base regain its status.

 

Not Exactly,

In Manfred’s words, this is how the baseball is changing:

 

“The fact is that the game has changed and is continuing to change — in my view, at an accelerating rate. Games have become longer. In 1975, the average game was 2 hours and 30 minutes. Now the average game is three hours. In 1988, 272 pitches were thrown in an average game. Today, the strategy of working counts and taking pitches means that it takes an additional 22 pitches to complete that same game. Back in 1988, the average major league club used 17 pitchers over the course of the season. In 2015, the average club used 27 pitchers. We are seeing less of our star starting pitchers, more delays for pitching changes, and less action at exciting points late in the game.

 

Today, major league players are hitting home runs at a record pace, but the number of balls put in play is at a historic low. There have been more strikeouts this season than in any other season in baseball history since 1871. Offensive strategies like situational hitting and stealing bases, which often create exciting moments for fans, are less prevalent today than at any point since the Year of the Pitcher in 1968. These changes have occurred not due to new rules but almost exclusively because of decisions made by creative general managers and managers in an effort to win as many games as possible. [ESPN]

 

Image Source: MichelleJJansen.WordPress.com

Image Source: MichelleJJansen.WordPress.com

The Wrong With Manfred’s Propositions

It is clear to see that not all of the changes described by Manfred above are completely unwanted or unacceptable. If we fact check his statement, it turns out that the number of pitchers said above is the result of the fact that the teams are really conscious about the health of their players. They put the name of the pitcher in the list of disabled players straightaway these day, they are taken care of through and after surgeries, they are allowed increased amount of rest and after that, assign relief pitchers do take over innings. Even the fans complain more about the fact that the teams are over-using the pitchers, than the fact that pitchers are way too sensitive. If reversing this trend is tried, it will mean going back to the time when Sandy Koufax’s amazing career ended in a few years.

 

It can be considered that the new ways Manfred is aiming to try out to tackle the issue may change the face of the game more startlingly than anything that has happened since the 19th century. The new schemes proposed by Manfred include:

 

Installing a 20-second pitch clock

Prohibiting defense shifts

Automating intentional walks

Shortening the duration of the season

Delimiting the number of relief pitchers in a game.

 

 

Image Source:  TodaysKnuckleBall.com

Image Source:  TodaysKnuckleBall.com

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