Frank Robinson took over as Vice President of Baseball Operations last week. The move was views by many — me included — as a way for Bud Selig to put someone tough in charge of the umps and to do a better job carrying out baseball’s on-the-field priorities like speeding up the pace of the game and stuff. Ken Rosenthal reminds us, however, that this is nothing new:
So I’m talking to Frank Robinson on the phone, talking to him about his
new position in baseball, talking to him about his plans to speed up
the game. And suddenly, it hits me:Haven’t I had this conversation before?
In fact, I have — just after the 2000 World Series, during Robinson’s
first tenure as a vice president of baseball operations. Yes, almost 10 years ago.
Rosenthal quotes Selig from back in 2000 talking about how pace-of-game issues were “a very high-priority thing.” Those were to be Frank Robinson’s responsibility, but they were obviously were never addressed, so what makes anyone think they’ll be addressed now?
Rosenthal also throws cold water on the notion that Robinson is going to come in, snap his fingers and get the umps to fall in line. To the contrary, Rosenthal’s sources say that Robinson will be tasked with “improving communication with the umps.” Seems to me that the only communication that needs to happen right now is for the umps to be told, in no uncertain terms, that no one comes to the park to see them so quit acting all arrogant and getting in players’ faces, but I suppose we’ll leave that to Robinson.
Robinson does say he has “a special message” he wants to convey to the umpires. I hope that’s a euphemism for a size 10 EE in their collective posteriors, but it doesn’t sound like it will be.