The Wall Street Journal highlights the new pace-of-play rules. Which aren’t characterized as a mere improvement. They are a gambit to ensure baseball’s very survival:
As the 2015 Major League Baseball season dawns, the lords of baseball are asking for our forgiveness. They want a second chance, and to get it they are making changes that could shake the game to its foundations . . . If all goes as planned, 2015 will become the year baseball finally realized it needed to change fundamentally to survive as a major sport.
Because, clearly, when fundamental survival is at stake you make crazy bold moves like, say, asking hitters to keep a foot in the batter’s box. I mean, that’s life and death crap right there.
It’s a fascinating article, really, in that it mischaracterizes all kinds of things like that. For example, hiring Bud Selig’s longtime right hand man Rob Manfred to be the next commissioner was not about maintaining continuity after years of smooth sailing and success, it was a desperate move made by desperate, ultimatum-leveling owners to save us from David Ortiz’s batting glove adjustments:
What drove these wealthy titans over the edge were moments like these: David Ortiz at the plate, endlessly rubbing his hands and adjusting his batting gloves; or David Price, the game’s most deliberate hurler, taking his usual 27 seconds between each pitch. Torpid images like this led to a breaking point, at the owners’ meetings in Baltimore in August, when the bosses named Rob Manfred as new commissioner and gave him a clear message: Get this game moving, or else.
Did I mention that the owners are desperate?
The goal is to assure fans that the caretakers of the game are serious about making changes and willing to try almost anything to achieve it . . . Purists can take heart—more drastic measures like a seven-inning game aren’t under consideration, at least not yet.
Anyway, go for the stuff about the pace of play rules, stay for the by now tiresome and misleading stats about TV ratings and kids playing other sports. But do it fast, because baseball is dying, you guys.