Thursday, October 29, 2015

Commissioner Manfred’s First Year on the Job a Success

The 2015 Major League Baseball season marked the first season under the new tenure of Commissioner Rob Manfred and with the season just about in the books you have to label this first season as a success. Manfred took over for former Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig with the promise to change the game, maybe not radically but change nonetheless, while improving the game and keeping the most progressive and old school fans happy at the same time. It seemed impossible at the time but it looks like Manfred may have pulled off the impossible.

Manfred’s first agenda was to speed up the game with his new pace of play rules in both the minor leagues and the Major Leagues. Pitching clocks were installed in the minor leagues and experimented with in the Arizona Fall League with varying degrees of success while television time outs, commercials and the annoying “stepping out of the batter’s box to adjust your batting gloves, read the signs from the third base coach and spit in your hands even though you took a ball a foot off the plate” were eliminated from the majors. Excluding the postseason and the month of September, due to rosters expanding to 40 players from 25 players leading to a slew of pitching changes night in and night out, Manfred and his pace of play rules shaved about 15 minutes off a game every single night.

Attendance is up across the board once again in MLB and television deals are fruitful and as plentiful as the oceans on Earth. Baseball is a business and the money is definitely here and definitely being spent. Manfred also introduced a domestic violence policy to train and potentially stop a domestic violence case before it happens and Manfred has enjoyed a spike in youth and exciting young players to hit the game this season. Manfred watched as Alex Rodriguez made his comeback tour, the Yankees (which love them or hate them you have to admit that it’s good for the game when they are relevant) return to the postseason and the return of the Chicago Cubs as a power house team in the league.

What Manfred did not deal with is any major steroid suspensions, Ervin Santana maybe being the biggest name to be suspended this season, or fall outs of any kind. Manfred wasn’t a part of discussions to contract a team or two in the league, instead he is spear-heading a movement to play games in Cuba and Mexico while potentially adding another team or two somewhere down the line. When a manager leads his team to the World Series, much like Ned Yost and Terry Collins have in 2015, you have to push the right buttons more time than not and the same can be said for a Commissioner. Manfred pushed the right buttons this season but his job is far from done. He has the second base collision rule to work on and the collective bargaining agreement ends when the 2016 season does, but if the past is any indication of the future than Manfred, and Major League Baseball, will be just fine. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)