MLB Week in Review (August 11-17)

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A constant story in the MLB is the lack of willingness to make changes as they prefer to keep things the same as much as they can.

It can be a frustrating thing as they try to grow the sport in an era where the speed of baseball can be a major issue.

Yet despite the potential suggestions the league refuses to make any changes that will affect the game unless they do a lot of research.

For some, it is a frustrating thing but in reality, it is a good strategy more often than not because they are making sure that things will work.

Making a sudden change that can have a major impact on the game is a big decision and just doing it without looking into the decision is not a great strategy.

They can sometimes take things a little too far as they tend to take a very long time to talk about things without changing anything.

Often it is a concern about the integrity of the game but some of the proposed changes have little to do with the integrity of the game and more about the league being stubborn.

Not all decisions are going to be easy though and rarely will everyone be happy about the decision and how fast the decision was made.

Since he took over, Rob Manfred has been under fire for a number of decisions with a lot of people wanting to see changes in the league.

He brought a new attitude to the league but still that same careful processing that the league has been known for.

One of his biggest missions has been to speed up the game and in doing that Manfred has added a number of new rules but has not gone as far as some have wanted.

There is still no real punishment for taking too long and the pitch clock that many people think could help is a ways away still.

He is making progress but some believe it is not fast enough and that things need to change before games become longer.

That debate could rage on for years before anything is decided as there are plenty of other factors to the length of the game that the league can’t control.

One part of the league that they can control though is the umpiring and for some, they are not doing a good enough job of that.

This past week talk surfaced about the effectiveness of the umpires, as it usually does at a point in any season.

That talk turned into fans, players and executives beginning to wonder if the best option for the future of the league was to remove the umpires altogether.

It’s not all that simple though as there is a big debate to be had about having that human element but also getting things right.

The biggest debate has been around the strike zone where it has always been a bit of an understood aspect of the game that it isn’t always the same.

Every umpire doesn’t necessarily have the same strike zone despite the established rules of where the strike zone is supposed to be.

It has been a part of the game forever but players are beginning to get sick of it as it becomes more obvious with replay and slow-mo.

With more pressure than ever before players are getting more upset as they try to be effective players and justify their big salaries.baseball-sidebar

The bigger pressure means mistakes by the umpires are more highlighted than ever before making it a bigger issue in the eyes of the fans.

The only solution for some is that the MLB should establish an electronic strike zone utilizing the Pitch FX technology to determine strikes and balls.

The hope is that this technology will be far more accurate and consistent than the current system that is in place.

In theory, it should be as the human aspect of the game is where mistakes happen and in general, technology can make a big difference in eliminating that error.

The people complaining want to take that human error out of the game entirely and the automatic strike zone is a way to do that.

The decision lies with Manfred and the league though as they need to decide whether or not they want to take that route.

Manfred addressed the demand this week and claimed that the technology isn’t quite there yet to make the switch.,

More telling though was the fact that he made a comment claiming that he isn’t sure he wants to remove the human element.

That is the old school thinking that has kept the league away from change for such a long time.

It is partly nostalgia and partly trying not to make a mistake with the game that has lasted for well over 100 years.

Whether there will ever be a change like this remains to be seen as the league is more willing to change under Manfred than ever before but they are still going to take their time.

 

Extra Innings

Verlander on the Move?

The trade deadline has passed but there is still a chance for players to move with the waiver trade deadline still active. That has led to some big names still being on the market though and that includes Justin Verlander. The Detroit Tigers are out of the running for the postseason this year and getting rid of Verlander to get some prospects could be a good thing. Apparently, the Houston Astros are interesting and a deal is close and if it happens it could be a big boost for the Astros as they make their postseason run.

Renaming Yawkey Way

This past week the USA was the centre of controversy after a protest turned deadly in Virginia when White Nationalists and those opposing them clashed in Virginia. The incident raised a lot of conversation regarding racism in the USA and the Boston Red Sox joined the conversation. Red Sox owner John Henry claimed that he would like to change the name of the iconic street outside of Fenway Park, Yawkey Way. The street and gathering place for Boston fans was named after former Boston owner who held out to be the last team to integrate.

Stanton on a Tear

Giancarlo Stanton is another player that could be on the move before the regular season ends and he is making a case for being a big boost. His last few weeks have been unbelievable setting a great pace for the end of his season. He has added plenty of home runs to his total and although he may never reach the single season record he is now on pace to hit 60 home runs this year to put together one of the best seasons ever.

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