I have to admit that it was a bit startling to get the news that MLB’s owners wanted me to become the new commissioner of baseball. Nevertheless, by a vote of 17-13 it happened and I am pleased to be here today to discuss my role in getting the games to move faster and other innovations that will take place before the 2017 season starts–in fact, some of the changes will take place immediately. Okay, I’m ready for questions. You there, Mr. Hackney.
“Mr. Commissioner, what’s the biggest change we can look for in the coming days?”
Obviously, limiting the rosters to ten pitchers per team is the new rule that is causing the greatest stress. Managers are not sure that left handed relief pitchers will ever be able to get right handed batters out again and the idea of a reliever facing more than four or five batters in one game is a bit daunting to pitching coaches. But we feel that fewer trips to the mound will not only speed up games but also reduce the need for hip replacement surgery for managers going forward. We don’t know where a new Tug McGraw or Rollie Fingers might come from, but over time they will develop. Next, Ms.Cackleford?
“Commissioner, how were you able to convince the players’ association and the owners to accept the shortened schedule?”
We’re going back to 154 games next year in order to fit all the playoff games in before the Halloween shopping season begins. Along with the end of night games in the post season, we feel that we will have a new opportunity to introduce baseball to youngsters around the country before football season is half over. The players were against it at first because we also included double headers on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, but when we showed them how everyone could be back with their families by Thanksgiving they came around. The owners whined a lot about about losing prime time on television, but when our research that proved that only eight per cent of TV viewers were still awake then, they realized that advertisers were ripping them off. Ms.Hecklelott?
“Commissioner, speaking of television,those new advertising rules sound pretty harsh. Will people still have time to pee and then open another cold one?”
One sixty second or two thirty second ads between innings will not reduce income because the producers will be charging more for the air time so it’s a wash. We need to move these games along and if the fishing lure guys can’t afford it, tough bananas. We’re also thinking about what they do with soccer, with the ads up in the corner near the pitch counts. Mr. Furrowbrow?
“Mr. Commissioner, it seems that replay has become another factor in prolonging games even though teams mostly support it. What is your view?”
The Chase Utley rule has been confusing to all involved. Henceforth it will become easier because infielders and runners will be equipped with sensors that automatically set off alarms if they are a)not in contact with the base or b) in contact with each other. That should help. As a further, unrelated positive step, anyone attempting a head first slide shall be called out. It’s not true that umpires will be required to wear body cameras. Umpiring crews that consistently take more than 2.5 minutes to decide a challenge will be forced to eat at Sonic in the same car as the dweebs.
Thank you, commissioner!