Commissioner Manfred Has Got To Stop This Assault On Baseball

Robert Manfred has taken it upon himself to try and change the game of baseball under some misguided belief that it is no longer relevant for the world we live in. That is a bad premise on which to continue his tenure as the man responsible for the future of the game.

But his misguided attempts to speed up the game is not so good at all. The decision to stop hitters stepping out of the hitter’s box has not done anything to speed up the game. Nor has his idea of putting a time limit on coaches going to the mound. The game time has actually gone up since he took over the role. So these innovations have not done their job. The preoccupation with the speed of the game has a touch of some pedantic need to try and tinker with something to put his stamp on it rather than actually improve it.

So too has the hard line taken against coaches and players arguing when an umpire blatantly gets a call wrong and calls strike or ball erroneously. To punish the players and managers for getting annoyed when an umpire makes a bad call which can make or break a guy’s career or a team’s season, seems a little punitive and ignores the fact that the league should be making a point of trying to improve the calls made in the game by the umpire. A way of scoring the performance of the umpires which sees an umpire being sent down to the minor leagues means that they too will be less inclined to lose attention and make calls that are just awful. The technology is there to show if a ball is inside our outside the strike zone so why these calls cannot be reviewed is beyond me. They wouldn’t even take as much time to review as when a guy is called out/ safe at one of the bases.

But the most worrying problem for me is the talk that Commissioner Manfred is now talking about the idea of shortening the game from 9 innings to 7. That has to be the most pointless and needlessly destructive idea from this man’s brain. The game of baseball has been 9 innings since back in the 1800s when it was first codified. If the American public can spend hours at a football game that has 60 minutes of play stretched in 3+ hours, with lots of time wasted standing around watching the coaches talking to the players then why can they not handle a game of baseball that lasts 9 innings of pretty much continuous play? Who is bothered by the length of the game anyway? Anyone I talk to about it says the same thing. The length of play is just right. The game is as it was 150 years ago. It was and is perfection in itself and has no need of needless tinkering. So too is the ideas of limiting what can be done with relievers. This is robbing the strategy from the game, and the high pressure ending to the game, the combat of the game. Interference for interference’s sake.

If Manfred wants to make a mark on the game, then ending the links with gambling would be a good one. I mean, how can you condemn Pete Rose for his links with gambling when you advertise gambling companies? Improve the umpiring. That’s a good start. Then let Pete Rose back in, and while you are at it, vindicate Joe Jackson. The evidence shows that he did not do anything to throw the games. He was acquitted by the law courts and yet some big shot hanging judge-cum-commissioner decided to make a name for himself by banning the games finest hitter.

If he wants to get kids involved with the game and build an international audience, then that it a noble idea and one I applaud heartily. This will not be done by short changing the fans with shorter games. He will do that by making the game fun and promoting it as a great thing to watch and play. He needs to do more to reach out to international audiences. Making them feel like they are valued as a fanbase. I love the game despite feeling that my being an overseas fan means I am not counted worthy. To me, this game is perfection. It has everything a person could want in a sport. There are things that can make it better. But messing around with the length of the season and the games is not the way forward. Hopefully, Rob Manfred will start acting like a fan of the game, and not someone who hates it, and stop messing around with it. If something isn’t broke then don’t try to fix it. That was the attitude of the other commissioners who only made changes when they had to. The speed of the game is a thing that only he seems bothered with. This might be his big crusade. But there is a problem with running off half cocked on crusades like this, just read Don Quixote. Commissioner Manfred is baseball’s Don Quixote chasing after windmills.

To me, this game is perfection. It has everything a person could want in a sport. There are things that can make it better. But messing around with the length of the season and the games is not the way forward. Hopefully, Rob Manfred will start acting like a fan of the game, and not someone who hates it, and stop messing around with it. If something isn’t broke then don’t try to fix it. That was the attitude of the other commissioners who only made changes when they had to. The speed of the game is a thing that only he seems bothered with. This might be his big crusade. But there is a problem with running off half cocked on crusades like this, just read Don Quixote. Commissioner Manfred is baseball’s Don Quixote chasing after windmills. He is starting to look like a comic figure. He is throwing out the baby with the bath water. We must let him know what we think of this idea. Hopefully, he will listen to the fans. We are, after all, the ones who make the game a viable business. Let’s not let him ruin this game for us. It is our game. It is that simple.

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