Rob Manfred handed 5-year term as Commissioner

All of the baseball owners voted to approved a five-year term for Rob Manfred, Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball, who will succeed Bud Selig to become the Commissioner of Baseball next year. Current commissioner, Bud Selig announced the results – it was a unanimous vote in the favor of a five-year term. Selig will have his final meeting in January in Arizona before giving up the job to Manfred on January 25, 2015.

“I’ve been so busy and every day is so frenetic that the last month or two, I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time thinking about it,” Selig said, “but you know, we are where we want to be. We’re having a wonderful transition, orderly transition, good transition. That’s very important.”

Manfred will attempt to attract young fans back to baseball. That will involve speeding up the game. According to ESPN, the average time of a nine-inning game increased from 2 hours, 33 minutes, in 1981 to a record 3:02 this year, with postseason games stretching nearly 4 hours.

“I want the committee to continue to do its work,” Selig said. “This was very productive in terms of ideas. The experience in the Arizona Fall League made quite an impact on a lot of people.”

Here is a look at some of the rules that were tested in the Arizona Fall League:

Batter’s box rule

The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout his at-bat, unless one of a series of established exceptions occurs, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate. 

No-pitch intentional walks

In the event a team decides to intentionally walk a batter, no pitches shall be thrown.

20-second rule

Requires the pitcher to deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball with the bases unoccupied. The penalty prescribed by Rule 8.04 for a pitcher’s violation of the Rule is that the umpire shall call “Ball.” 

2:05 inning-break clock

There shall be a maximum 2:05 break between innings. Hitters must enter the batter’s box by the 1:45 mark. When batters violate this rule, the Umpire may call an automatic strike. When batters are set by the appropriate time and pitchers fail to throw a pitch before the conclusion of the 2:05 period, the Umpire shall call a ball. 

2:30 pitching change break clock

There shall be a maximum 2:30 break for pitching changes, including pitching changes that occur during an inning break. The first pitch must be thrown before the conclusion of the 2:30 period or the umpire shall call a ball.

Three “time out” limit

Each team shall be permitted only three “Time Out” conferences per game (including extra innings). Such conferences shall include player conferences with the pitcher (including the catcher), manager or coach conferences with the pitcher, and coach conferences with a batter. 

Selig has made it evident that he wants to push for those changes to be made and will say more about each specific topic in the next few months. He is trying to get them done before Manfred takes office.

“I think the core of replay will be similar,” Manfred said. “I think the changes we’re contemplating — without getting into them — are largely technology improvements. … I think there are also some issues related to exactly how long it takes to get replay going.”

MLB executive vice president Joe Torre also chimed in about the time being wasted by the players and coaches.

“That’s one area we’ll do something differently,” Torre said. “I’m not sure what that is, but certainly we will eliminate some of that standing around because 10 seconds is a long time.”

ESPN reports that: “MLB executive vice president Dan Halem provided an update on a domestic violence program that is being developed for both players and non-players. Domestic violence has become an issue of increased importance across professional sports.”


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