Well, it’s not a full deal, but it is some progress. According to John Heyman of MLB Network, the Players’ Association and MLB have agreed to ban shifts, make the bases larger, and also implement a pitch clock. A proposal of robo-umpires has been rejected.
Players union agreed to allow MLB to ban shifts, implement a pitch clock and make bases larger in 2023, subject to those agreements fitting into a total deal. Union also rejected Robo umps for ‘22/‘23. MLB goal: to be able to streamline the process and add excitement ti the game.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 6, 2022
All three of these changes are designed to add extra oomph to the game, with the squashing of the switch designed to up the offensive output, meaning no more moving guys to the outfield from their normal positions.
The larger bases are designed to increase steals, which have really declined in the game, and while the larger bases won’t completely solve that problem, it should help it somewhat.
The pitch clock should speed up a game that’s often complained about as too slow. I’m not sure if I agree, but I understand why it would seem that way for the guys that want to make the game pop as much as possible on TV. The limit will be 14 seconds with empty bases or 19 seconds with runners on.
However, just because we have some things that have been agreed on, the crux of the lockout issue — money, of course — is still a problem, and it seems like the two sides are no closer to making a deal and the league is in danger of more games being cancelled.
Owners seem quite upset about players union move today, still suggest official offers are below ranges discussed just before the first deadline and characterize talks as “deadlocked.” More games are in jeopardy.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 6, 2022
Another issue being discussed is the 14-team playoff format. The players have already agreed to 12, while the league is after 14. I don’t expect this will be a hold up if the two sides can agree on money, however, it’s just another in a long line of obstacles. The exact format of what a 14-team playoff would look like is still being hammered out.
What say you, BD? How do you feel about the three changes that were agreed to this weekend?