Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Baseball chief Manfred says changes could come this year to improve games' pace

Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred

LAKELAND — Commissioner Rob Manfred wanted to make clear at the start of his Thursday address that he believes strongly "there is nothing about baseball that needs to be fixed."

Then he proceeded at spring training media day to detail changes he would like to see, as soon as this season, to eliminate dead time and increase action in games.

Most dramatic would be raising the bottom of the strike zone from below the knee to back above it, with the idea that more higher pitches would be put in play more often, and not result in more walks.

"The theory is the pitch below the knee is being called a strike more frequently, that that particular pitch is hard to hit and that forcing pitchers up in the zone would produce more action," Manfred said. "(This change) is sort of restoring the natural order, getting back to where we were."

Other changes under consideration, and in negotiation with the players union, include making intentional walks automatic and limiting the time managers have to decide on replays and the time for reviews to be completed.

Reducing the dead time, Manfred said, is more important than games' overall length. "A quicker pace is good for fans," he said. "What we want is a well-paced game with action regardless of time of game."

There could be a rush to get the changes implemented, given there is no deal yet with the union and camps are open, but Manfred said he is confident they can be done by opening day. Other changes, such as putting a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, will be made only at lower levels to allow for experimentation and data gathering.

On other topics, Manfred said:

• Florida, thanks to Gov. Rick Scott, has been "an unbelievable partner" to Major League Baseball in terms of providing and upgrading facilities for the 15 spring teams and the two that stick around year-round.

• Adding in-market game streaming for 27 teams, including the Rays, is a "really important way for particularly younger fans to enjoy our games."

• He would like to see "increased interest and support" for next month's World Baseball Classic in the United States as there is in other countries.

Good stadium vibes

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that he remains "optimistic" that the Rays will find a new stadium in the Tampa Bay market, sharing Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg's feeling based on progress on the site search in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, with a resolution expected by August. "I'd like to encourage the process to move as quickly as possible," Manfred said.

Baseball chief Manfred says changes could come this year to improve games' pace 02/16/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
  2. 'Deadliest Catch' captain talks reality TV, Snoop Dogg and Tampa Bay

    Outdoors

    Keith Colburn is best known as captain of the Wizard on the Discovery Network series Deadliest Catch. Colburn and crew go to battle in the Bering Sea working one of the deadliest jobs in America. A seasoned veteran, Keith has filmed 11 seasons of the show and is still going strong with his relief captain …

    Captain Keith Colburn is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Discovery Channel. Courtesy of the Discovery Channel
  3. HomeTeam 100: Players 51-60

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Wharton defensive back AJ Hampton will help lead the Wildcats into the 2017 season. Taken 7-6-17 by Scott Purks
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Rangers?

    Blogs

    The road trip is done, but the Rays will still face a western team, as they tasks on the Rangers in a three-game series at Tropicana Field. Here's the information you need to know about Texas before the action kicks off.

    Record: 45-50, fourth in AL West

    Starter Tyson Ross, left, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, right, have struggled immensely this season.
  5. Checklist to help Bucs swagger into the postseason

    Bucs

    To boost their playoff prospects, the Bucs need to beat Atlanta at least once, as they did last year. Twice would be even nicer. (Loren Elliott, Times)