Rob Manfred Speaks: The Future of Double Headers, the Extra Inning Rule, the Shift, the DH, the Vegas A’s? More

While I was busy covering the Cubs selections in rounds 11-20 of the 2021 MLB Draft, Commissioner Rob Manfred was quoted on a number of important topics relevant to the future of the game. And those comments, while not particularly substantial, are especially important to track as we drift further away from the pandemic and closer to a new CBA.

Here’s a quick recap of what you missed.

The New CBA:

Nothing would make me happier than to believe Rob Manfred when he says “Our No. 1 priority is to get a new agreement without a work stoppage.” But we’re not going to take that at face value.

Now, there are some reports suggesting that after the shortened 2020 season, neither the league nor the union can literally afford to miss any games next season, and that certainly makes sense. But remember, this is a battle of will and public perception. And fans tend to vilify whoever seems less willing to make a deal, regardless of if that’s actually true or fair to the ongoing negotiations. In other words, Manfred has everything to gain and nothing to lose by saying he wants to get a deal done. But the fact is, the players have some legitimate issues to raise and they need to be negotiated in good faith, not just to get a product back on the field as quickly as possible (even if that IS what we want).

Limiting the Shift:

It looks like the commissioner’s office is not just taking a stand on the shift, they’re actually trying out a semi-novel argument for why:

There have been all sort of proposals on how the league could look to ban or limit the shift, but the easiest one for me has always been what’s laid out above: (1) You must position two fielders on either side of second base and (2) they must start each pitch with their feet on the sand.

Frankly, I’m not really sure why that’s so controversial. And moreover, I don’t know why we think “But you can’t limit a strategy!” is a good argument. Almost every single rule is about limiting strategy for the betterment of the game. That’s kind of the whole point.

I know some of you don’t agree about banning the shift and I do understand and agree that there are actually some potentially counterintuitive and counterproductive effects. But on the whole, I think it’s a good idea that could lead to more base hits/action, which is ultimately what baseball needs.

As for the “restoring baseball” argument, well, that does nothing for me. I don’t care if baseball looks the way it used to, I just want it to be the best version of itself. In this case, that just happens to align with the past.

Old Rules Returning

The seven inning double-headers and extra inning rule (starting a runner on 2B) could soon go the way of the do-do.

I’ve always been pretty iffy on the extra-inning rule, even as others (including Brett) have come around. It is nice to get some immediate action in extras, but it just feels like there’s a better alternative out there. I don’t know what that is, necessarily, but I wouldn’t mind at least starting extra innings as normal baseball (i.e. the 10th inning is just a normal frame with no special rules) before trying something out there after.

Maybe you go 12 full innings and then do the runner (or it’s a tie, or it’s a home run derby, or it’s sack racing, I don’t know). Even though the extra inning rule isn’t as despised now as it was when it was proposed, I don’t suspect Manfred will face much backlash.

Oh, I also hate that the rules in the regular season are different than the playoffs. So, fix that too.

As for the seven-inning double-headers, well, he might actually get some pushback on that one. Although it was earnestly created during the pandemic to fit the games in and preserve the health of the players (in more ways than one), we have since seen some players coming out in support of the shortened double-headers for many of the same reasons. The union could look to make that one of their priorities, and they very well might, but everything you get is one less thing for which you can ask.

Manfred knows all this and could be making a leverage play. There will be a lot of this sort of posturing over the next 7-8 months.

Along these lines, Manfred now believes the universal DH is considered a “non-radical” proposal. I’m pretty sure we’re getting it no matter what.

The Vegas A’s:

I’m so sick of writing about the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays stadium situations, but until they are settled, the league will not continue on with expansion, division improvement, or anything else in that big-picture reference frame, and so we discuss. Again, and again, and again.

The latest via Bob Nightengale:

Vegas was always considered one of the premier potential expansion sites, so I’m sure Manfred would prefer the A’s figure things out in Oakland so that he can bring a new team to Vegas. With that said, his fatigue is not lost on me. That feels like a legitimate threat at this point.

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

more cubs news

REPORT: Cubs to Call Up Infield Prospect Luis Vazquez

A surprising report tonight ahead of tomorrow's off-day for the Chicago Cubs. Another infielder is coming up, and he'd be making his big league debut in the process. It's defensive stud Luis Vazquez, a guy whom many had been calling...

Enhanced Box Score: Pirates 3, Cubs 2 – May 19, 2024

The brutal, brutal run for the Chicago Cubs' offense continued today. It's really hard to win that way, and even harder to watch. Jameson Taillon was a touch better than his line today, without a lot of defensive help behind...

Pre-Gamin’: Pirates at Cubs (1:20 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — Well, the good news is that the Cubs have an off-day tomorrow and Dansby Swanson is targeting a Tuesday return from the IL. So no matter what, this SHOULD be the last day the Cubs middle infield...

Enjoying the Actual Walk-Off, Morel History, Leiter and Neris, Holy Brennen Davis, and Other Cubs Bullets

Despite everything, the Cubs are still three games up for the second Wild Card spot at the moment (and two games back in the NL Central). That's not a going-forward projection, it's just some context. The drama around the call...

The Pirates Can Be As Mad As They Like, But That Call Was Correct

If I were a catcher and wanted to record an out, I would simply not drop the ball. It's a jokey line, sure, but it's also correct in relation to yesterday's controversial conclusion. I think after seeing the replays of...

Wake Up and Watch Shota Imanaga Dominate and the Cubs Walk It Off

The Cubs pulled out a win in the bottom of the 9th yesterday, when Christopher Morel drove in Cody Bellinger to walk it off. The Pirates were undoubtedly displeased about the controversial ending, as it looked like Bellinger had been...

The Cubs Walk It Off on a Weird Play at the Plate!

Whew. That game was kinda dumb, but I tell you, the ending sure was fun. And also weird! So, to set the stage, the Pirates and Cubs' offenses could do nothing all day long. The game was still 0-0 in...

Brennen Davis FREAKING DID IT AGAIN! AND THEN HE DID IT AGAIN AFTER THAT!

This guy. What do I even say? I was already kinda buzzy when Brennen Davis homered again - a grand slam - for the fifth time in six games, and sixth time in eight games. THAT IS RIDICULOUS. https://twitter.com/IowaCubs/status/1791967453888598441 Truly...

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 1, Pirates 0 – May 18, 2024

What matters most is that the Cubs won the game. And it was a fun ending, too. So I'm happy. But I also do feel a little frustrated - or concerned might be the better word - as I'm sure...

Pre-Gamin’: Pirates at Cubs (1:20 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — Losing to the Braves (and then Jared Jones and Paul Skenes), when you have 10 people on the IL, including your entire middle infield, is not really that concerning to me. It sucks and banking losses is...

Latest News

Liberty vs Storm Prediction: Picks, Live Odds & Moneyline – May 20

The New York Liberty (3-0) will try to extend a three-game winning streak when they host the Seattle Storm (1-2) on Monday, May 20, 2024 at Barclays Center. The game airs at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN3, WWOR, FOX13, and...

Sun vs Fever Prediction: Picks, Live Odds & Moneyline – May 20

The Indiana Fever (0-3) will try to stop a three-game losing streak when they host the Connecticut Sun (2-0) on Monday, May 20, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The matchup airs at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN.Sun vs. Fever Prediction &...

Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Los Angeles Dodgers (32-17), led by Mookie Betts, host Ketel Marte and the Arizona Diamondbacks (22-25) on Monday at 10:10 PM ET.The article below will give you everything you need to know to watch Los Angeles take on Arizona.When...

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles Series May 20-22: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

On Monday, May 20 at 7:45 PM ET, a three-game series featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and the visiting Baltimore Orioles will begin.Cardinals vs. Orioles Series Info Orioles @ Cardinals Time: Monday, May 20 at 7:45 PM ET Cardinals Starting...

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels Series May 20-22: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

In the first of a three-game series, on Monday, May 20 at 8:10 PM ET, the Houston Astros will host the Los Angeles Angels.Astros vs. Angels Series Info Angels @ Astros Time: Monday, May 20 at 8:10 PM ET Astros...

Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers Series May 20-22: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

On Monday, May 20 at 7:40 PM ET, a three-game series featuring the Kansas City Royals and the visiting Detroit Tigers will begin.Royals vs. Tigers Series Info Tigers @ Royals Time: Monday, May 20 at 7:40 PM ET Royals Starting...

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Series May 20-22: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

On Monday, May 20 at 10:10 PM ET, a three-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks will begin.Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Series Info Diamondbacks @ Dodgers Time: Monday, May 20 at 10:10 PM ET Dodgers Starting...

Royals vs. Tigers: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Monday at 7:40 PM ET, Bobby Witt Jr. and the Kansas City Royals (29-19) take on Riley Greene and the Detroit Tigers (23-23) at Kauffman Stadium.The article below will give you everything you need to watch Kansas City take...

Panthers vs. Rangers Stanley Cup Semifinals Game 1 Prediction: Picks, Live Odds and Moneyline – Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Florida Panthers are -115 on the moneyline against the New York Rangers (-105) on Wednesday, with this tight-looking matchup being played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Watch the NHL on Fubo!Panthers vs. Rangers Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Panthers...

Astros vs. Angels: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros (21-26) host Taylor Ward and the Los Angeles Angels (18-29) on Monday in a series opener, with first pitch at 8:10 PM ET.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading for streaming and...

more cubs news