July 13, 2021

Dumb-Ass Manfred Says His Dumb-Ass Rules Could Be Gone In 2022 (But The Dumb-Ass Still Manages To Botch That Announcement, Because . . . Well, He's A Dumb-Ass)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated on Tuesday that two of the most bone-headed decisions of his tenure – beginning each extra half-inning with a runner on second base and having doubleheader games last only seven innings (both rules were introduced in 2020 and continued in 2021) – will likely be trashed, possibly as early as next season.

The Washington Post described Manfred as "uncommonly candid" when he asked if those rules would be incorporated into the next collective bargaining agreement, which will be hashed out this winter.

I see the extra-inning rule and the seven-inning doubleheader as rules that were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID. I think they are much less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules that we've talked about over time that relate to how the game is being played.

That is excellent news, but Manfred said he remains serious about fucking the game up by other means, such as banning shifts:

Let's just say you've regulated the shift by requiring two infielders each side and second base. What does that do? It makes the game look like what it looked like when I was 12 years old. It's not change; it's kind of restoration, right?

I think front offices in general believe it would have a positive effect on the play of the game. I'm hopeful, without going into the specifics of rule by rule, that we will have productive conversations with the MLBPA about, let me use my words, non-radical changes to the game that will restore it to being played in a way that is closer to what many of us enjoyed historically.

How in the hell can requiring that two infielders remain on each side of second base be a restoration when that set-up has never been a rule, ever, in the entire history of the game?

And played in a way that we enjoyed historically? If I recall, there has never been a rule stipulating where a fielder can or cannot stand in fair territory. If Alex Cora feels like having all four infielders and three outfielders bunched together in a group-hug in the right field corner, then that should be his goddamn prerogative. It's horrible strategy, certainly, but it should be allowed.

Mostly, Manfred's comments simply shine a spotlight on how mind-bogglingly stupid those ideas were in the first place.

Could having teams (who are playing a three- or four-game series already) play four fewer innings in a doubleheader really make that much of a difference as far as possible coronavirus infections? On those days, players are still in close proximity for at least 14 innings. Why not 18?

And when Manfred introduced the asinine idea of having a runner on second base to begin all extra innings, he said absolutely nothing about it being tied to the pandemic. He told us quite clearly the rule's only purpose was to get the boring-ass games over with as soon as fucking possible. (That is a direct quote, though I can't find the link right now.)

Yet, oddly (and by that, I mean not oddly), in October 2020, Manfred sang a different tune, predicting "the extra inning rule probably has the best chance of surviving" because it adds "a layer of strategy and sort of a focus at the end of the game that could be helpful". (Wrong and wrong. Helpful focus. Good lord . . .)

At the same time, Manfred said he believed the players like the rule. "I think it's really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they're out there too long or in positions they're not used to playing." (It's like I've been saying for years, MLB's top priority is health and safety.)

Manfred said that nothing has changed his mind about forcing pitchers to face a minimum of three batters or to finish a half-inning. "I think that's here to stay." (Fuck you, Manfred.)

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