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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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