By Ken Reed
I’m fine with MLB not making pitchers throw four silly lob balls to the catcher in order to intentionally walk the batter. If the defense wants to voluntarily place a runner on base then simply notifying the umpire will do just fine. It won’t save a lot of time but it’s a start.
I’m fine with limiting “time outs” — e.g., trips to the mound by coaches, managers or position players, as well as limiting the number of conferences third base coaches can have with batters. And umps should force batters to keep one foot in the batters box between pitches, instead of allowing hitters to go on long strolls after every pitch.
In addition to the new automatic intentional walk rule, MLB will limit the time managers can take to make a replay challenge this season. Good. And the replay booth will be limited in how much time they can take to review a play. Good again.
Moreover, I think the practice of catchers taking multiple seconds after every pitch to get a sign from the dugout to relay to the pitcher should be stopped. If, however, managers and pitching coaches feel it’s imperative that they call pitches instead of catchers then put speakers in catchers’ ears. That will save time and avoid having to watch catchers stare into the dugout after every pitch to get a sign.
Of course, the best way to speed up the game would be to cut the excessive time currently allowed for commercials between half-innings. But, of course, MLB won’t do that. Owners love revenue more than they dislike slow games. So, the dead time between half-innings will continue until the networks come back from commercials.
Most of these speed-of-play rule changes are pretty innocuous. But I have one absolute on this issue: Never, ever, under any circumstances, bring a clock into the game of baseball.
One proposal that’s being kicked around to speed up the game is to insert a pitch clock into the game. The pitch clock rule would require pitchers to throw a pitch in a certain amount of time.
One of the charms, and unique characteristics, of baseball is that there has never been a clock involved in the game. That’s the way it should stay.
The best way for baseball to keep existing fans — and acquire new ones — is to enhance the game’s strengths, special features, and unique characteristics, NOT try to become more like football or basketball.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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