Major League Baseball is going to look a little different this season.
The bases are bigger, there will be a shot clock and limits on pickoffs, and the turn is prohibited. Oh, and the “Manfred Man” is here to stay (teams start extra innings with an automatic runner at second base).
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is doing everything he can to reduce game time, which on average takes more than three hours to finish. However, a former All-Star pitcher doesn’t think any of the changes will help.
Rob Dibble was asked on the “Don’t @ Me” podcast if the changes to the game will do anything, and he kept it blunt.
“No, he won’t, because he’s an idiot,” Dibble said. “They teach you, and I teach this at the Little League level, and I’m saying ‘Little League’ very loudly, that you pitch a certain way, in a timely manner, so that your infield stays ready to play defense. Your outfield plays Defensive, they’re ready.
“It’s like basketball. You know, you tell guys to put your hands up, be on the balls, and get your feet to bounce. Well, that’s baseball. I always tell my infielders; I yell at them. I don’t It doesn’t matter if it’s 8 or 18, that you have to move your feet before every pitch, and so to tell a pitcher, work on timing so there’s more action, [is dumb].”
The driving force behind the rule changes is former World Series-winning general manager Theo Epstein, who has been hailed as a king of analytics. Dibble, while understanding that analysis is part of the game, said Epstein and Manfred’s love of the game doesn’t match that of others.
“I heard what Theo Epstein said,” Dibble said. “It was idiotic. He works for Rob Manfred, who doesn’t love baseball like we do, and he apologized for being an analytics nerd. He doesn’t need to apologize. I think the game is fine. I think you can have analytics, you can have the old school mentality. Everything works. But when you start to hate the game and say, ‘We need a shot clock, we need pitchers to work faster,’ you know what’s going to happen? Throw fewer strikes and there will be fewer action”.
He continued: “You want guys to be ready, you want them to focus, but you want them to keep their defense involved. So people who don’t know baseball think pitchers are taking their time. Do you think hitters are are they taking their time there? They don’t watch baseball. The commissioner has already admitted, ‘I don’t watch baseball. I don’t like baseball. I think the trophy is a hunk of metal.’ I mean, you’ve got to get a commissioner who understands the game , maybe he coached the game, maybe he played the game and understands that pitchers are already taught, if taught by some kind of teacher or qualified coach, that you work in a timely way to keep their defense in the game.”
The shot clock reduced minor league games by about 26 minutes last season, according to a report from MLB.com, while the hope for bigger bases and the at-bat ban is more action on the base routes, combined. with more hits and stolen bases. .