What are you doing Wednesday afternoon? Have any plans? I have an idea of something you might want to do.Last year's MLB regular season ended on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, and the World Series, which as you might remember went seven games, ended on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. This year's baseball regular season ends on Sunday, Oct. 1, which -- even though the playoff schedule and dates won't be released until deep into the regular season -- gives us at least a rough idea of what could be the next day -- after Wednesday -- in which there will be no baseball or baseball-related activity in our lives: Wednesday, Nov. 1. That is 255 days away from now.Sure, there will be the day before the All-Star Game (which has the Home Run Derby, anyway), and the two days after the All-Star break (which frankly feel like they last about three months), and if there are no tiebreakers, there will be the day after the regular season before the first Wild Card Game, but other than those -- and we're talking about baseball on all those days anyway -- Tuesday is it, kids. Tuesday -- like, that day that's just after this weekend -- is the last day that baseball will not be a regular part of your day for 252 days.
The four-pitch intentional walk can take a hike.In an effort to improve the game's pace of play, Major League Baseball approved a change to the intentional walk rule on Tuesday, ditching the drawn-out, traditional format for a dugout signal, sources told ESPN.The league and the players' union agreed to the change, which will reportedly take effect at the start of the 2017 season.The new rule will allow a team to signal to the umpire its decision to walk a batter, rather than forcing a pitcher to toss four pitches outside the strike zone.
I'm running out of clouds to yell at (and I'm not that old) when it comes to Major League Baseball. The commissioner and the players association keep changing rules, and the changes aren't for the better.The announcement Tuesday that intentional walks will no longer require actual pitches being thrown is the latest miscue. Beginning this season, hitters will be told to "Take your base" or something to that effect when they get near the batter's box. Just like that, they'll make their way to first base. It's all in the name of shaving seconds off the times of games, you know. And yes, we are talking seconds.Some quick math shows the folly of this decision.Last season, major league teams issued 932 intentional walks. At four pitches per walk, that's 3,728 pitches. Granted, not every intentional walk included four intentional balls: Some were thrown after the count went to, say, 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 as teams pitched around batters. But for the sake of this argument, let's say all the wide ones were intentional, with the catcher holding out his arm and all that.That's 3,728 pitches spread out over the 2,428 regular-season games played in 2016. That is, on average ... 1.54 pitches per game.MLB and the players, therefore, have agreed to jack around with game play to save the time needed to throw a pitch and a half per game. I don't care how long a nervous pitcher may need to throw that pitch and a half; it isn't nearly enough to merit such a radical change to the rules.
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball may have one notable rule change this season -- an automatic intentional walk. As for significant rule changes, they appear to be very much on the table for 2018, with an eye toward speeding up the pace of play.Commissioner Rob Manfred made this clear on Tuesday afternoon during a news conference that opened the fifth annual Cactus League Spring Training Media Day.Manfred expressed disappointment that Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark had shut the door on major rule revisions."Unfortunately, it now appears there really won't be any meaningful rule change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said.
Facebook is in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports, according to two people familiar with the situation.