Yesterday, MLB announced rules to have players keep 1 foot in the batter’s box at all times, make managers stay in the dugout on replay challenges, quicker returns to action after TV commercials, and timed pitching changes. I support all of these rules, and so does any baseball fan who isn’t 86 years old and sitting in a nursing home wondering if they’re gonna serve anything other than cottage cheese that week.
But the new MLB rules to speed up the game won’t be nearly as helpful as you were hoping. When you read further into that ESPN article, you’ll notice that there are 2 drawbacks to the rules. The first is that the rules won’t take effect until May, as Spring Training and April are a “phase in” period, which may as well be a flashing neon sign saying “These rules are not to be taken seriously.” The other thing, which might be even more of a red flag (and that’s saying something), is that the punishment goes all the way up from a first time warning to a whopping fine of $5000. Five thousand. That’s nothing to an MLB player… and you wanna know something even more ridiculous. I lied with that $5000 figure. It’s actually $500. Alex Rodriguez makes somewhere between $30 and $40k per at bat depending on how many he gets per year, so that means that he makes the number I lied to you about, $5000, for about every pitch he sees.
You know how jaywalking is illegal but everyone and their mother does it, even if it’s right in front of a cop? You do it because it’s not worth it to follow the rules, there’s like a 1 in 100 chance that a cop will actually give you a ticket if they see it, and the ticket of $25 isn’t even worth being scared of. As a matter of fact, I have no idea what the cost of a jaywalking ticket is. I just guessed because I’ve never heard of anyone I know getting one, which is pretty telling right there.
That’s what these rules are – the jaywalking of MLB. Major League Baseball showed its resistance to change again, even as Bud “I will never send an email” Selig is out as commish. Even when the league tries to change something for the better that every fan wants, their resistance to altering anything about the game radiates through every big league ballpark.