For the first time in months, Jeff Loria met the press. He did so at last night’s Marlins game. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post has a detailed rundown of the interview. This was a the highlight for me. Loria was asked if he realizes fans hate him:
I have a sense of it. I’m sorry that we’ve built this amazing ballpark and fans are feeling the way they do but we did this for a reason – we weren’t going anywhere and I think anybody who is a baseball person will realize that after two years that we had, we had to do something. We had to do something quickly and swiftly and bold.
The phrase “… we’ve built this amazing ballpark and …” in between “I’m sorry” and “fans feeling the way we do” pretty much sums it up. He may have well just called everyone ingrates. Of course he left out the part where those fans (a) paid for the ballpark against their will; (b) were duped into “a whole new Marlins” thing, complete with all that new merchandise the team sold last year; and (c) were then treated to another talent liquidation.
Beyond that, Loria gives his side of the story regarding Jose Reyes’ claim that Loria told him to buy a house in Miami a couple of days before he was traded. He-said-he-said, I suppose.
He also notes that the Marlins will not be making a long term offer to Giancarlo Stanton this season. Which isn’t the most surprising thing in the world given that he’s not yet arbitration eligible. But since this is the Marlins and they’ll trade anyone at anytime, it leaves the door open for him to be traded.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.