Among the spate of rules being discussed recently, it was broadly assumed that making the designated hitter universal across both leagues was one of the most likely to gain quick approval. The players were for it and it seems like an easy fix to baseball’s flagging offensive stats.
But all you purists can stop clutching those pearls, as Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday that the National League will continue letting pitchers embarrass themselves at the plate for at least three more seasons. Manfred has tabled the discussion until the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated at the conclusion of the 2021 season, choosing instead to focus on pace-of-play measures.
Do you think this has to do with the realization that a DH’s average plate appearance is surely longer than a pitcher’s and would actually add time to the average NL game? Whatever the reasons, I’m sure Brian Kenny is very pleased right about now.
In addition to a 20-second pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for relievers, Manfred has talked about finding ways to shorten TV breaks between inning and pitching changes. MLB managed to shave 5 minutes from the average game time last season by limiting mound visits and TV breaks, but going with picture-in-picture ads could further eliminate downtime.
Maybe they can actually run those ads during each pitcher’s at-bat — unless it’s Jon Lester — so viewers aren’t subjected to them. Truth be told, I don’t actually feel very strongly either way and just take pleasure in tweaking vocal proponents of tradition.