Major League Baseball’s primary problem is its leadership. The men running the sport have no clue as to why people love the game. They are obsessed not with the unique nuances and strategies of their sport, but with tinkering and tweaking to the point where it is becoming unrecognizable to its lifelong supporters.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is following in Bud Selig’s footsteps. Selig never understood the fabric of the sport with interleague play and out-of-control expansion, and his attempts to break the union over money culminated in the tactic approval of steroid usage and asterisk-marred home run records.
Manfred is doing the same with juiced baseballs and his attempts to shave time from the game, and now he wants to legislate the use of relief pitchers.
Speaking on ESPN Radio last week he would be in favor of restricting pitching changes during an inning or game.
“You know the problem with relief pitchers is that they’re so good,’’ he said. “I’ve got nothing against relief pitchers but they do two things to the game: The pitching changes themselves slow the game down, and our relief pitchers have become so dominate at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game.’’
Evidently, Manfred has never seen a compelling pennant race or World Series game that boiled down to a confrontation between a great reliever and great hitter, with the tension rising with each pitch.
Mets fans relish the memories of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the “ball gets by Buckner,’’ game. That one play has become the face of the game, but the real action is what lead up to that play, where the Red Sox bullpen imploded.
That statement confirms Manfred isn’t the right person to lead baseball because he doesn’t understand baseball. Baseball is about pitching.
Instead of bowing to the millennials who want to speed up the game and crave instant offense he should take the time to really watch a game. He’s missing a good show.