A big overhaul in the rules of Major League Baseball could be in the making, with some so unprecedented that current players and traditionalists of the sports will like vehemently oppose them.
Limiting changes in pitchers, restricting shifts defensively, altering the current strike zone and installing clocks for pitchers were amongst the ideas Rob Manfred the MLB commissioner spoke about on Thursday, as owners of clubs in MLB embarked on a review of the sport.
Officials of the game made a presentations during the quarterly meeting of owners in Houston, detailing the changes to baseball over the last four or five decades.
With the collective bargaining agreement that is currently in force expiring on December 2, seeing the game having new rules prior to the beginning of the 2018 season is a possibility.
Manfred said his talk to owners was about how much the game has changed over the years. It has taken a course of where general managerial and managerial decisions have driven it. Manfred said the big decision is to accept where it has gone and if it should be allowed to continue that route or not.
While MLB and the owners of its teams could be in agreement with some new ideas, getting an agreement from the Major League Baseball Players Association to change is a whole fight of itself. That is easily evidenced by the reluctance of the group to implement pitching clocks of 20 seconds like have been used in the minors since last year.
While baseball purists believe a clock on pitchers takes from the action of the game, the commissioner contends that the defensive shifts as well as excessive use of pitching changes are equal to the same.
He adds that an argument is easily made that more relievers are lengthening games, more changes in pitchers have slowed the game’s pace and the effectiveness of the bullpens have robbed action for our game.
Reactions by players were at best skeptical.
Matt Wieters the catcher for the Baltimore Orioles said he did not like things implemented that would change how the game was played. If the game is shorter without the integrity of the game being affected he said he was for it, but these latest things being tossed around could mess with the game’s integrity.