“I think we told the MLBPA today that we are ready to implement an agreement on voluntary recognition. I think they are working on language as we speak,” Manfred said in response to a question at the end of the press conference announcing the rule change.
The union declined to comment on the process, which has moved quickly to this point but may slow as both sides delve into the details of that agreement. MLBPA CEO Tony Clark told The Washington Post on Wednesday that he hopes the union can negotiate a A collective bargaining agreement for its junior associates by spring training next yearalthough the familiarization process is the first hurdle in what could be a winding path to the first CBA for young entrants.
The journey to implementing Friday’s rule changes – most notably the shift ban and the stadium clock application – has been an arduous one. Both rules were debated for years before finally being tested in the minor leagues, then reaching the office of that joint committee, which the federation agreed would consist of six MLB representatives, four players and one referee.
The MLBPA released a statement explaining that none of the four players on the panel voted in favor of pitch clock or banning shifts, explaining that MLB officials did not take players’ comments into account when finalizing their rule proposals. But the federation agreed to the joint committee in a contentious collective bargaining process this spring, signing a form committee that effectively ensures the MLB will push through any rule changes regardless of what the players involved think of them.
“Player leaders from across the league participated in on-field base negotiations through the Competition Committee, providing specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner’s office,” the federation said in a statement on Friday. “Major League Baseball was not willing to meaningfully address the areas of interest raised by players, and as a result, players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against implementing rules covering defensive transitions and the use of pitch timers.”
Manfred acknowledged that the rules were not and will not be universally accepted by all factions of major league players – some benefit from shifts more than others and some will find themselves and their routines between the court much more influenced by the clock of the field. than others.
“It’s hard to get consensus among a group of players about changing the game and taking a position that the game should be changed,” Manfred said. “I think at the end of the day, what we did here was about giving fans the kind of game they want to watch after looking carefully at all of these voters.”
Manfred, who sits alongside counselor Theo Epstein and MLB executive vice president Morgan Sword, made the announcement during a news conference that was shown on the East Coast club’s televisions as players began streaming into Friday night’s games. The news was not a surprise. But at least at the New York Yankees, the announcement sparked discussions among executives, players and managers as they looked at the screens.
“I’m on board with it. I think it’s things that have a chance of having a positive impact on our game. We’ll see, right?” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “…Hopefully these are things that can be little things that lead to a better and more enjoyable product overall. I at least hope these are positive things.”
San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler described the changes as “significant” and addressed them from his team’s point of view: NBC Sports and more The pitch clock can help the Giants’ presentation crew, who have been taught to “push the pace” and won’t have to adjust.
Chicago Cus Manager David Ross laughed When asked about the larger bases, which will grow from 15 inches square to 18 inches square according to the committee’s only unanimous vote. Some assumed they would make more stolen bases. Others suggested that the greater benefit would be player safety, providing more space for field players and runners to avoid collisions at the base.
Tampa Bay Radiology Director Kevin Cash told MLB Radio That if fans want the changes these rules can bring about, he and his players need to listen. He added that his organization would take the winter to learn exactly how to operate under the new regulations.
“We’re going to work really hard this season to wrap our heads around the best ways to communicate that to the players, work on it in the spring training and see if there are some advantages we can get,” Cash said.
The rules becoming official on Friday means that everyone will have plenty of time to change menus, strategies, and methods to account for the changes, which will be implemented in the spring training. Change has been a constant in MLB since the start of the pandemic as players adapt to health and safety protocols, a specific global hitter, new checks for sticky things and more.
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”