Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Safety Netting, Slides and Streaming of MLB

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred came up just short of President Barack Obama in his “change we can believe in” speeches when he was first elected to the position of Commissioner a little over a year ago but not by much. Manfred has changed the games in many ways including revamps to the collision at home plate rule, instant replay, all Game 162’s starting at the same time for optimal scoreboard watching, his pace of play rules and many other aspects of the game including expanding the brand beyond just the United States. Manfred is not stopping there though as Manfred, the league and the Players Union are close to implementing more changes for the better to the game.

No longer is Major League Baseball known as traditional or archaic. Expanded netting at all Major League ballparks will be implemented in some way, form or fashion in 2016 to keep the fans safe without restricting their viewing pleasure.  

No longer will your in-market games that are shown on Fox Sports or an equivalent be blacked out, they will not be streamed for your viewing pleasure as long as you have a cable subscriber. You have to watch the game on the computer or on your phone but in years past you were forced to just keep up with the score via Twitter. 

ESPN is going to televise every playoff team on Opening Day (between April 3rd and April 4th) including a Sunday night game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets to open the season. 

Baseball is returning to Puerto Rico in 2016. This will mark the first time in five seasons the sport has traveled to the island property of the United States and this will also mark only the second time in the past 11 seasons. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins will play a two-game exhibition series on Roberto Clemente’s birthday to honor the former legend. 

The “Chase Utley” rule is likely on the way as well after the Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman injured Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on a take-out slide in the World Series. Also Manfred is looking at the instant replay rule that can penalize a player for sliding into 2nd base feet first and coming slightly off the bag with the tag applied. MLB does not want more players sliding head first and risking further injuries so this ruling is likely to come before Opening Day 2016 as well. 

Change is coming ladies and gentleman and it’s going to be for better or worse. If Manfred’s first season is any indication of his next four seasons (and beyond) though I think the game will look drastically different in 2020, and it will likely be for the better. 

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