Major League Baseball got a name change this past week if you didn’t hear.
It actually didn’t, I just made that lead up, but the game took a turn for the worse (or so many people thought), when the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, proposed a new rule change that would now get rid of the intentional walk.
Supplanting the usual four pitches will just be a signal from the dugout to get the runner to first base.
Rob Manfred has no doubt made it his goal to speed this game up, if only by a millisecond.
For the record, there was only about one intentional walk for every three games last year – so while this is more of a rev of the engine than a complete pedal to the floor approach in terms of speeding the game up, it is worth noting.
The commissioner continued to drop the hammer this week letting his counterparts in the Major League Baseball Players Association know that he will be unilaterally making rule changes without their approval for the 2018 season – something he has the authority to do.
Rob Manfred is not playing nice anymore.
Robbie wants our national past time more millennial friendly – including making the game more “exciting” and action driven like some of his professional sport counterparts.
(If you didn’t know he goes by Robbie now – wears backwards hats, listens to the Chainsmokers, and only eats grain free because grains are so “not trill” right now)
He wants to attract and most importantly retain a fan base all in a two and a half hour time frame.
This latest showing by Manfred is a sign that not only are times changing, but our once beloved game of baseball is no longer going to look the same either.
Just take a look at the fact the league just signed Under Armour to be their uniform provider, which had people saying that “Under Armour is certainly cool with that generation.”
Yes, Manfred the Millennial has started to rear his gap toothed face in a game where things like tradition and history use to dig their cleats between the foul lines.
It used to be just nine guys competing another against another nine – sometimes you would get a ball to bounce your way, sometimes you wouldn’t, and that is what made this game great.
Baseball is meant to be a long game, but these are just minor cogs in a much larger operation.
What is happening here is bigger – and Manfred recognizes that.
The dynamic of how, where and when people watch professional sports, including the game of baseball, is CHANGING.
While people will hate it (including myself), overtime, it will pass, because at the core of all of this is the fact that the game itself is still there.
Games have to develop in order to stay relevant, rules must change, and players must overcome in order to stay current and relevant to their fan base.
While we all will moan and groan during weeks like this where we view people like Rob Manfred as a monster for ruining our perfect game, we must keep in mind the fact that he is not the first, nor will he be the last to change the great game of baseball.
Shit, this game used to be played without helmets. Thank god for the guy who instituted that rule change, somebody would be dead right now.
Although some of these rules aren’t AS extreme as others, the core principle remains the same – although scary, every game must adapt for its fans.
It is much as a rule change as it is a marketing ploy. They are better for the game’s prosperity both on and off the field.
Our fan base today (unfortunately) has their noses stuck more in their phones/tablets/televisions than on the field.
To combat that, we have to make the game shorter, or the revenue stream will go away. It’s not ridiculous, just simple economics.
The fact cable television is about to become obsolete is proof of that same concept.
Even though man people hate these new rule changes, we will get over this.
Because as I stated before, at the core existence still lies the great game of baseball.
While Manfred may be looked at right now as a jerk, down the line he will be thought of as an innovator, or someone who thought to make the game better for the fans, or trying to update the game for the people who come to the ballpark today.
Manfred the Millennial.
Sounds like a wrestling name.