St. Louis Cardinals: A Baseball Strike Approaches in 2018

michaeldavidmiles
Apr 5, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to media before the game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to media before the game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Cardinals participated in the last MLB player’s strike in 1994 and will likely do so again in 2018.

Hold the press, right? How dare I say that our beloved St. Louis Cardinals will take part of any baseball strike? If you are offended by this suggestion then stop reading now. A strike was narrowly avoided during the offseason but I doubt this can be the case next offseason.

Let me entirely frank, based on news that just surfaced today- Tuesday, February 21- I heavily predict that all of baseball is headed for a strike in 2018. These feelings are due entirely upon the Major League Players Association (MLBPA) refusal to adopt rule changes for the 2017 season imposed (or rather suggested) by Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Let’s dig into this a little more. Commissioner Manfred and his committee have suggested efforts to speed the game as we know it today. These include changes to the strike zone, a pitch clock, and even the suggestion of adding a runner on the bases in extra innings. Let me share my feelings…

In relation to the strike zone, I find myself agreeing with the MLBPA that the zone does not need to change. MLB is hoping to generate more offense by raising the zone and are hoping that this will, in turn, bring larger audiences: chicks dig the long ball after all. I do not agree with MLB that this will actually be the received outcome and feel that nothing is wrong with the zone save the inconsistent calling of the umpires.

In relation to the idea of a pitch clock, I love pitch clocks. I cover the Memphis Redbirds for us here at Redbird Rants and I can tell you that the roll-out in the minors has come with great success. The games in the minors are fast enough and the clock ensures that all pitchers adhere to some semblance of consistency. In addition, the clock ensures that exhaustive mound visits are a thing of the past.

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In short, I wish the MLBPA would approve the pitch clock. I would love to see this in the majors. One other item of note here: the quicker minor league games- while somewhat connected to the pitch count- are more connected to not being televised. In other words, should MLB actually care about speeding the game, perhaps they should examine the television timing issue and/or overlay commercials.

One of the remaining items denied today by the MLBPA was the idea of adding a runner at second in each inning of extra innings. I can see both sides here. I don’t like completely changing the game in extras but also like the idea of the novelty of the added stress for extra innings.

From a managerial standpoint I can see this being somewhat of a nightmare when it comes to burning the pinch runner or another player to become the added stress on second. That said, wouldn’t this move actually slow the game rather than speed it up? Won’t this step take a visit from the manager to the home plate umpire to signify the added runner?

Let me get right to the point. All of these disagreements lead to the following statements and tweets from the Commissioner:

…and this…

…and this…

Wow, right? Do you realistically believe that the MLBPA will stand for such unilateral changes? I don’t. Should Manfred force his ideas through and makes changes without the union’s agreement, I predict bad things to come.

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The union is a strong force in baseball and showed its influence in 1994. Will we again see this influence in 2018? I’m afraid that we will if Manfred follows through on his stated promises today. There is plenty of time between today and the offseason following the 2017 season and cooler heads could prevail by that point. If not, then I predict another strike.

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