Daniel R. Epstein – Off the Bench: Major League Baseball’s Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred is in a rush to implement numerous changes to the MLB game. The majority of these are based around pace of play issues. You may or may not have issues with MLB’s pace of play, but you should take issue with how Manfred is going about testing the rule changes he desires. An automated strike zone will one day come to MLB, but as its implementation in both the Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League showed, it will not be ready for prime time anytime soon. Still, Manfred trudges forward, his changes need to be implemented, regardless of their possible negative impact.
Shawn Brody – Beyond the Box Score: Attendance at MLB games has been an odd duck for a few years now. Overall attendance numbers have been dwindling, but profits from attendance have stayed the same or in some cases risen. Catering to rich business clientele with luxury box seats is to blame for this bit of oddness. MLB’s approach isn’t affecting the bottom line right now, but it is seriously damaging the future of the sport. To say that MLB doesn’t care about the common fan, the future of the sport, or anything but their present-day profits would be a massive understatement.
Joe Posnanski – The Athletic ($): At the very core of my writing is the belief that baseball is baseball. I don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because someone didn’t play in the organization known as MLB or one of the recognized white major leagues that they aren’t a fantastic player. Sadaharu Oh was one of the greatest baseball players to ever live and he never needed to play a game in MLB for that to be the case. Today, Tetsuto Yamada is the best second baseman on the planet, has been for some time and will be for many more years. He may never play in MLB, but that does not detract from his greatness in any fashion.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown