BOSTON (CBS) — Major League Baseball could be undergoing massive changes in the coming years, and new commissioner Rob Manfred is at the forefront of them. Manfred talked about those potential changes to MLB games when he joined Tony Massarotti on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Baseball Reporters on Wednesday night.
One of the biggest issues with baseball broadcasts right now is the pace of play and excessive length of games. Potential changes in that department include the removal of four pitches for intentional walks, which is a minor change. But more sweeping changes would be pitch clocks for pitchers or time limits on hitters who step outside the batter’s box.
Manfred does not believe the issues are with time, but with pacing. He told Massarotti that his ideas would make games more entertaining and would not affect the players’ ability to compete.
“I really don’t think about it in terms of game time, for the simple reason that there are a lot of things that go into determining how long a game takes that are simply beyond our control,” said Manfred. “For example, when you get a lot of runs scored. A high-scoring game is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s got a lot of action and the time is filled up.
“Our focus, at least in the first wave of effort, is just dead time. Just things where there’s no action in the game, nothing’s happening, and reducing that time has no impact on the competition.”
Manfred acknowledged that it will take an agreement with the players union, led by former major leaguer Tony Clark, to implement the changes he wants. He would prefer it that way as opposed to abusing his power to impose changes that the players don’t want.
“Over the course of this year, we will have conversations,” said Manfred. “And my hope remains that we will be able to reach an agreement that will be good for the game, good for our fans, and acceptable for the players.”
The key word there is “acceptable.” Unless the players get a proposal that they’re willing to agree to with Manfred, such major changes may not take place any time soon.
Listen to the full podcast below: