MLB may make unilateral rule changes for 2018

Numerous rule changes the MLB is interested in - including implementing a 20-second pitch clock, and forcing the ball into play more rapidly while also limiting visits to the pitcher's mound made by players, coaches, and managers - are geared towards reducing slow moments between action in Major League Baseball. Under baseball's labour contract, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With a phone call, MLB Players Association chief Tony Clark could jump-start that conversation again.

"Unfortunately, it now appears there won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season, " Manfred said in a prepared statement, "due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA". Thus, the new rule will only save fans one minute every 2.6 games, or approximately 14 seconds per game. "I'm good with it". Two years ago, we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Year to date, the stock is up more than 16%, while in the last year, it is up nearly 28%.

MLB.com has reported that we could see the change as early as this upcoming season.

"I believe it's a mistake to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change".

"I have to admit that I'm disappointed we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes, " Manfred said, "like limit trips to the (pitcher's) mound, that had little effect on the competitive character of the game".

In practice, I suspect the new rule will drastically reduce the number of intentional walks.

Stating that regular discussions had been taking place throughout the off-season between the Major League Baseball and the players' union, he continued, "I would be surprised if those discussions with Major League Baseball don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation".

Major League Baseball has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap.

The only problem is teams aren't walking batters as often as they used to.

Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Chris Stewart grabs an intentional walk throw in a game between Arizona and Pittsburgh past year in Phoenix.

I don't know if he was the first guy to say it, but Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle once said baseball must be a great game; it's survived all out attempts to screw it up.

The Rockies last season issued 38 intentional walks, eighth-most in baseball, but far behind league-leading Miami at 62.

Manfred said earlier this month Major League Baseball is actively "reexamining" its hard stance on sports gambling, despite historical dark clouds for the sport from high-profile betting scandals.

  • Julie Sanders