The Rob Manfred Era Has Begun


(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The new Commissioner comes with revolutionary ideas

Teams would play in Cuba

A faster game

The new Commissioner of MLB, Rob Manfred, has come with a special agenda to give more dynamism and quality to baseball. In recent years the sport has been spotted with the famous cases of steroids, BALCO labs and the Biogenesis clinic. All this has affected the league negatively to the extent that they have had to take severe measures to counteract this behavior and punish all the violators. Several players have been suspended, such is the case of Alex Rodríguez, who was all over the newspapers and who was sanctioned for one year.

However, Manfred said that all that its part of the past, and that major league baseball has created a more effective anti-doping testing system and has stablished strong preventive measures to avoid that from happening again.

“For now our goal is to move forward and continue to internationalize more baseball,” said Manfred in a recent press conference.  In fact, we will follow the guidelines established by the Government to seek the possibility of friendly games in Havana, Cuba. The possibility that major league baseball will come to Cuba is becoming more feasible.  “Once we get the support of the Major League Baseball Players Union to make this possible, we will work on creating exhibition games on the island”, the new Commissioner of MLB, Rob Manfred said. Manfred’s idea is to extend MLB to other countries where there is a professional League well solidified. In regards to Cuba, he thinks that it is an extraordinary market with a long history that dates back to 1876. For now, we just have to wait for the policies and guidelines from our Government to know when will be the right time to play there.

The Major League Baseball has a long baseball relationship with Cuba since the 1940s. It was somewhat normal that  teams would travel to the Caribbean country for friendly encounters. Moreover, the Cincinnati Reds had their Triple-A branch in Havana, with that famous team “Havana Sugar Kings” (Los sugar Kings). In that privileged club one can recall a constellation of Cuban players, whose headquarters was the famous Stadium del Cerro in Havana. The Sugar Kings was a team of the International League, a direct channel for Hispanic baseball players in the United States. In 1959, the sugar producers, led by Preston Gómez, won the International League Championship. Consequently, they also won the little league world series, defeating the Minneapolis Millers led by Gene Mauch in seven fierce games.

In itself, the commissioners’ idea is extraordinary, we hope that in a matter of a year we can play and schedule a few exhibition games in Cuba. There is also the possibility that Havana might be home to one of the groups playing at the World Baseball Classic 2017 or 2021.

To fasten the game! Another important point on the agenda of the Commissioner is to give more speed to the game. In 2014 the average was 3:13 an increase of 22 minutes compared to 2004. That is precisely what the Commissioner wants to obtain for this and future seasons. Another measures that he wants to implement for the upcoming season is that any player at bat will not be permitted to have their foot out of batting box. Anyone who refuses to do this will receive a fine.  Pitchers must make their throwing in a period of time that does not exceed 12 seconds. Pitchers will be reprimanded if they do not comply with this requirement.   These measures are only a few that have been already approved by Manfred, which began to be officially promoted on May 1. This left players with only a month of preparation, considering that the season started April 6. During the Spring Training practices many players are already implementing the new measures.

Other points that the Commissioner projects to eliminate in the future is the “special training”, also known “Boudreau shift”. This will mean that fielders will not be allowed to run much towards a band or another depending on the batter. A style of play which is made basically for the left-handed batter, such as a David Ortiz and Mark Teixeira, to name a few, and who pulled the ball towards their band. Another measure would prohibit the catcher to visit the mound between pitches.

– 154-game season

– Modify the Strike zone

– Special training (Lou Boudreau shift)

– Batter may not get the foot off the batting box

– Manager must appeal moves from the dugout

– Pitcher must not take a long time to launch

All these projected measures are ideal and we hope to accomplish the purpose of giving the game a much faster speed. In our opinion, a game of nine innings should not extend more than 2 hours, 50 minutes, it is already too much.