Swydan: Rob Manfred and the dangers of unintended consequences

From Paul Swydan at FanGraphs on August 22, 2016:

Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred declared in Houston that the problems most plaguing Major League Baseball’s current product are an excess of defensive shifts, an excess of relievers and the lack of a pitch clock. I’m not here to debate the specific merits of any of Manfred’s arguments. If you read this site on a regular basis, you likely know the arguments for each forwards and backwards. But I am troubled by the constant insistence that the game needs to be tinkered with in order to make it more appealing to new generations of fans.

No matter what is done to speed up the game, or make it more appealing, the core product is going to remain relatively unchanged. Games are still going to hover in the area of three hours. We’re not going to see a 30-minute reduction in game time. We often hear about the greatness of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series as a spectacle — a 10-inning, 1-0 affair that only featured two pitching changes. It took three hours and 23 minutes. The average game time for the World Series that year as a whole was three hours, 14 minutes. The game has lasted about three hours for roughly 30 years. We are not getting back to the days of two hour, 30 minute game times unless the league institutes a seven-inning game. Even then it might be dicey.

Instead of fretting over the game’s minor details, the game should be out marketing what makes its sport best — its players. This is something baseball does precious little of.

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/rob-manfred-and-the-dangers-of-unintended-consequences/

Originally published: August 22, 2016. Last Updated: August 22, 2016.