Andy Martino of SNY.com reports that Major League Baseball’s Competition Committee will meet tomorrow and that they will be discussing some pretty major topics.
Specifically, Martino reports that some members of the committee are favor of banning or limiting defensive shifts, though he cautions that such topics are expected to merely be discussed in wide-ranging fashion, not seriously taken up as a matter of policy implementation. He says the committee is “in planning mode.”
The committee will also touch on pace of play, the strike zone and the matter of game action being at an all-time low due to the surge of strikeouts, walks and home runs.
The stuff about shifts will get the most attention, of course, especially to the extent anyone seriously proposes imposing rules which would ban or limit them. While there have been many rules changes in recent years to deal with player safety or some minor, mechanical matters such as how an intentional walk may be issued or what constitutes a balk or a properly-executed double play, it has been some time since a rule which bans actual strategic decisions of a baseball team — or introduces new ones — has been enacted.
We’d have to go back to the advent of the Designated Hitter, I imagine, and even then that was only partial implementation. Maybe we’d have to go back to the rule which eliminated the option of throwing a ball at a baserunner and hitting him in order to get him out. That or the “a walk is eight balls” thing. Either way, we’re talking 19th century business.