MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reiterated Thursday that additional pace-of-play changes will be in place for the 2018 season. Only this time, he put a definite time frame on when he’ll announce the forthcoming changes.
Speaking to reporters in Tampa on Thursday, Manfred says that “one way or another” planned changes for the upcoming season will be announced before spring training games officially begin on Feb. 23 in Florida and Arizona.
Manfred didn’t provide any details on changes that might be coming, or whether they would immediately take effect during Grapefruit and Cactus League games. It was clear, however, that he’ll be willing to use his power as commissioner to go around the players’ union to implement those changes.
“One way or another” translates to “it’s happening, deal with it.”
During the recent owners meeting in California, Manfred reportedly offered a proposal that took some of the players concerns into account. Among Manfred’s reported concessions was his willingness to delay implementing a 20-second pitch clock until the 2019 season. The pitch clock measure is one baseball has been experimenting with at lower minor league levels since 2014, and was reportedly high on Manfred’s list to bring to MLB in 2018.
Reports indicate Manfred could delay or even move on from the pitch clock idea, but that would be contingent on real pace of play progress. Games finishing at or under 2 hours and 55 minutes on average is one condition that’s been reported. Considering games lasted an average 3 hours, 5 minutes in 2017, which was a record high for the league, that might not be feasible.
Other reported pace of play measures under consideration are limiting the number of mound visits between pitchers and catchers. Unfortunately, Manfred didn’t address the possibility of bullpen carts being brought back for pace of play purposes. Those pulling for that little piece of nostalgia can remain hopeful, for now anyway.
Nonetheless it will be interesting to see what Manfred has in mind for his next batch of pace of play solutions, and even more so how the players and fans react.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –