The comedian Fred Allen once said that a committee was “a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.” Is that the future of this committee?
Major League Baseball announced that Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has conducted a conference call with a new committee that will study the issue of pace of game. The goals of the committee will focus on decreasing time of game and improving the overall pace of play in the 2015 regular season and beyond.
The committee will be chaired by Braves president John Schuerholz. Who, it should be noted, chaired the committee which came up with the replay rules. The most notable aspect of which was the creation of the manager challenge which no one thought was a good idea before the committee started meeting. So I think it’s safe to beware of Major League Baseball’s penchant for gimmicks to slip into this process too.
As long as gimmicks can be avoided, however, this should be a good exercise. As we’ve noted on several occasions, there are multiple ways in which the pace of play could be increased without creating unnecessary new rules or fundamentally changing the game. As long as the mandate of the committee is to start small and go slowly, this can be a good thing.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?