In 2010 Major League Baseball came up with the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence which, as the name suggests, was created to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB Clubs. The Red Sox won it the first year. The White Sox won it in 2011. The Blue Jays won it in 2012. This year? Detroit:
The Tigers were acknowledged for their “Detroit Tigers Anti-Bullying” program, which works with Michigan schools to prevent bullying. The Detroit Tigers Foundation will receive a $10,000 grant from Major League Baseball as a result of the award. From the press release:
The Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Tigers Foundation partnered with “Michigan KIDS” and the “Newspaper In Education” programs to develop “Strike Out Bullying,” a component of the “Detroit Tigers Anti-Bullying” program that provides students and educators with tools to address and manage the issue of bullying in schools. The program is a baseball-themed educational supplement that is distributed throughout Michigan schools, reaching 90% of the state’s counties. Since its launch in 2011, the “Detroit Tigers Anti-Bullying” program has reached nearly 250,000 students in schools throughout the state. Tigers players, including All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder, serve as role models in speaking out against bullying.
Good cause. Congrats on the award, Detroit.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.