Welcome to the new age. Bud Selig's long tenure as MLB commissioner is over, and in comes Rob Manfred. MLB certainly had its share of issues throughout Selig's reign. Although Manfred might very well carry similar perspectives on many of them since he was so close with Selig prior to his appointment, it will be interesting to see how he addresses the hundreds of questions brought to his attention.
Since we're at the start of a new era for baseball, I decided to poll the Pinstripe Alley staff about seven of the more prominent questions Manfred must address (and one unrelated question). Fourteen writers responded to my survey, and some of them explained their votes. What did they think about the state of the game?
1. Would you support the proposed "pitch clock?"
"No. I think it would actually make things slower. More pickoff throws to reset the clock. Arguments about the clock. Etc." - Harlan Spence
"Yes-but super, super hesitantly. My main issue is that it could really take away from a pressure situation. Isn’t half the fun of a bottom of the 9th, bases loaded situation the long stare-in from the pitcher?" - Matt Appel
"Indifferent. I guess I would be interested in seeing how it works in the minor leagues." - Caitlin Rogers
2. Is it Major League Baseball's business to impose penalties of some kind for personnel who are arrested for DUIs, domestic violence, and similar off-the-field trouble with the law?
"Yes. These are people in the public sphere that may be seen as role models, and MLB has a responsibility to punish these players in some way to show that it does not condone these actions. Obviously, not every crime should be accompanied by a suspension/fine from major league baseball, but for DUIs and domestic violence, MLB should take a stance, and some form of punishment is the easiest and most visible." - Scott Davis
"No. Let the legal process take its course. If MLB tacks on suspensions in addition to any legal penalties, I think they should be only on conviction and not when charged." - Arun Krishnan
"Yes. Like any employer, the league should hold its employees to whatever moral standard they see fit." - Martin Stezano
3. Do you think MLB should make rules to ban extreme defensive shifts?
"No. The NFL gets ridiculed on a weekly basis for its rules that have made playing defense nearly impossible. If a professional hitter can’t figure out that it may be in his best interest to go the other way, then that’s on him." - Matt Appel
"No. No rules to outlaw shifting. Hitters need to adjust." - Martin Stezano
4. Has MLB done enough to expand instant replay?
"Yes. I think it's sometimes not enforced correctly, but i think its expanded enough." - Martin Stezano
"No. The fact that there are plays that can't be challenged means they haven't done enough." - Harlan Spence
5. Are you satisfied with MLB's PED policies?
"Yes, for the most part. I think A-Rod’s case has been handled poorly and unfairly (and handing down punishment without an actual positive test/shady MLB investigating sets a bad precedent), but in most other cases, the policy of escalating suspensions based on positive tests seems fair." - Scott Davis
"No. MLB's policy is designed to point fingers and 'out' users more than it is to actually address the PED problem. Also, teams have too much to gain from high-priced players getting 'busted.' There should be some kind of national pro sports anti-doping agency that governs all the major pro leagues and acts independently of the leagues themselves. The leagues can design their own punishments, but doing the testing themselves is a conflict." - Harlan Spence
6. Acknowledging that realistically, the DH isn't getting eliminated because the Players' Union isn't going to accept a possible job being cut, should the National League adopt the DH?
"Yes, I don't think people understand how much of an asset it is to be able to sign a player and not remotely care about his defense." - Nikhil Chaturvedi
"No. I like the fact that there are differences between the two leagues. It brings some character to the game, and it adds a nice wrinkle to the World Series by letting the NL team pick a DH and the AL pitchers whiff away." - Scott Davis
"Yes, and it’s crazy it’s taken this long! The same sport having two entirely different rules for 40 years is something only imaginative in MLB. Everyone is so concerned about declining offensive numbers, while half the sport throws out eight-man lineups on a nightly basis. What am I missing?" - Matt Appel
7. Name one MLB policy you would most like to change that has not been mentioned already.
Hall of Fame voting: 35.8%
Blackout policies: 28.6%
MiLB salaries: 21.4%
Expansion teams: 7.1%
Qualifying offer system: 7.1%
"The BBWAA Hall of Fame voting needs massive changes. The 10-year limit needs to be done away with, the 10-player limit for voters needs to be done away with. An idea that has been proposed this offseason that I am growing increasingly fond of is a binary ballot. Voters (of which there are, roughly, 250 too many of) simply vote yes or no on each player, depending if they think that player is Hall-worthy. Gets rid of the whole concept of "first-ballot" guys, which is another absurd issue in all of this." - Matt Appel
"The blackout policy needs to be changed. There's no reason why someone can be blacked out from watching up to six teams, but can't actually subscribe to any of them via a TV package. If MLB wants to attract a younger and more diverse audience, they need to make sure that everyone can actually view all of their live content." - Matt Provenzano
"Minor league salaries, definitely. The Hall of Fame process annoys me, but it doesn't matter in the end, really. The real travesty is that a $9 billion a year sport can't pay its young players a living wage, while asking them to put in the hours and effort involved with playing baseball professionally, and in the case of at least (and hopefully just) one team, charging them to attend offseason training." - Arun Krishnan
"The qualifying offer system needs to go. Teams should at least need to offer a multi-year deal that a player might take in order to get a first round pick. Either the team should have to match the player's best offer in order to get a pick, or install a tiered system, where a three-year offer gets you a 1st rounder, two-year offer gets you a 2nd, and one-year only gets you a 3rd." - Harlan Spence
8. Finally, a Yankees-specific question: Which retired Yankee do you next want to see honored with a plaque in Monument Park?
Bernie Williams: 42.9%
Willie Randolph: 42.9%
Jorge Posada: 7.1%
Dave Winfield: 7.1%
"Bernie Williams. He was inexplicably cut out of the Core FourTM, but he was a key part of just about every dynasty team. At 44.3 fWAR, he's also the third best center fielder in franchise history." - Matt Provenzano
"Bernie Williams, but I think that's already happening this year. So Willie Randolph." - Harlan Spence
"Willie Randolph. One of the best second baseman of all time. Show him some love, Yankees." - Scott Davis
"I'd be happy with any one of Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles or Bernie Williams." - Jim Griffin
"I'm looking at the most recent list of honorees, and I don't see Dave WInfield on there. that's a bit ridiculous if he isn't." - Nikhil Chaturvedi
Many thanks to the writers who participated in this survey. So that's what we think; what about you? How would you vote on these issues?