“It’s a terrible idea…It’s all terrible.”
Jon Lester didn’t hold back when he was asked about the proposed (now official) changes to the pace of play in Major League Baseball. The MLB has cut down the time allowed for a pitching change, and limited mound visits to six per nine innings.
Lester went on to discuss how technology is changing the game, with cameras and communication allowing teams to steal signs from opposing catchers. He said that Contreras isn’t coming to the mound to “ask me what time I’m going to dinner.” Pitchers and catchers are constantly trying to keep their signs under wraps, and this new ruling challenges that effort. The big lefty went on to discuss pace of play in general, saying that “the beautiful thing about our sport is there’s no time.” Fans should know what they’re getting into when attending a game or watching on TV. It could be 2.5 hours; it could be 4. That’s baseball, according to Jon.
Some may glance at this headline and think “Old Man Yells at Cloud.” A lot of times, I would agree with that. Players and managers rarely give a reason that the pace shouldn’t be changed. They just say “This is baseball. Keep it this way.” But Lester brought up a good point about why this change may be a bad idea. We saw what happened to the Red Sox in 2017, caught stealing pitching signs and communicating them with Apple Watches. Once technology can impact the game like that, all Hell can break loose, and it’s up to the MLB to combat it in any way they can.
I’m all for speeding up the game, as long as it doesn’t affect the outcome. Seems simple, right? But we are far from the end of this effort to shorten baseball.
Joe Maddon was asked about the rule changes and declined to comment because “I always get in trouble when I comment on the pace of the game.”
Good call, Joe.
[Wittenmeyer, Sun Times]