MLB Potential Rule Changes That May Happen

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MLB Potential Rule ChangesĀ 
Baseball fans have been watching the dance between MLB’s management, in the person of commissioner Rob Manfred, and the players’ union, led by executive director Tony Clark, over potential rules changes. While Manfred has been eager to see several changes to the rules to speed up games, Clark and the union have been holding firm against most of Manfred’s suggestions.

This year, Clark and the union have won out. There will be no major changes to the rules for the 2017 season. Manfred has suggested several changes, but almost all have been shot down by the players’ union. However, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement allows management to make changes to the rules without player consent as long as they give one year’s notice. So more rules adjustments are likely to come in the 2018 season forward.

The one change to this year’s rules that the union agreed to was regarding intentional walks. Instead of requiring the pitcher to throw four balls, the dugout can now simply signal for an intentional walk and allow the batter to take his base. Even this change has been criticized by fans and players, who point out that it’s possible for an intentional walk to be interrupted by a wild pitch or a lucky hit by the batter. Making the walk automatic removes the chance for these unusual plays to happen. And intentional walks happen rarely enough that this change’s effect on game length will be negligible.

Since taking office, Manfred’s major focus has been on increasing the pace of play. He has expressed concern that long games with too many delays are at fault for declining interest in baseball. While Manfred has said he’s unwilling to discuss specifics of his negotiations with the players, some of the proposals floated this year include:

– A twenty-second pitch clock, similar to that used in AA and AAA leagues.
– A limit on the number of mound conferences allowed per game.
– A larger strike zone, with the bottom at the base of the hitter’s kneecap instead of above it. This would be a return to the dimensions used before 1996.
– Starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

Manfred has declined to pursue the last of those, saying its use will be restricted to developmental leagues, but the others may possibly be implemented in 2018 or later. In a press conference on Tuesday, February 21, Manfred expressed clear frustration with what he termed the union’s “lack of cooperation” on rules changes. Clark responded, “Unless your definition of cooperation is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the commissioner’s office on these issues.”

One possible wrinkle may be the new collective bargaining agreement that is still being worked on. While players and management announced they had come to an agreement in December, the details of the agreement have not yet been formalized. “From time to time there are small adjustments that may need to happen, but everything has been agreed to with respect to the big moving pieces,” Clark said.

San Diego Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction

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The San Diego Chargers are on the road this weekend in Atlanta. Both these teams are performing a little differently than people guessed they would of been before the season. A Falcon’s win could put them farther ahead in their division. A Charger’s win would be a step towards keeping the momentum going in the right direction. Though, it is more of a must-win for the Bolts.

The Chargers will take the field in Atlanta with a 2-4 record. Most football pundits predicted the team would have a much better record at this point in the season. Adding further insult to injury, each of the Chargers losses have come in a different heartbreaking manner.

The Charger’s disappointing start is a result of injuries. The most notable player missing from the roster is Keenan Allen. The number 1 receiver suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first half of game 1. On top of that, multi-faceted running back Danny Woodhead has missed some time on the field. Luckily, there is a world class quarterback in San Diego by the name of Phillip Rivers. He is talented enough to make up some of what they are missing to keep them in games.

The Falcons 2016 season is a bit different story. Nobody expected much from the team coming into the season. Quarterback Matt Ryan has had a resurgence this year with the help of his primary receiver, Julius Jones. One could argue that Jones is the best receiver in the NFL this season. He is by far Ryan’s favorite target. The Falcon’s offense currently leads the NFL in yards per game. The explosive offense has helped them earn the best record in the NFC South. Atlanta is the only team in the division with a winning record.

Despite the disappointing record, the Chargers are heading into this matchup with some momentum. San Diego will also have a little bit of extra rest. They got a huge road win against the defending Super Bowl Champs, The Denver Broncos last Thursday. A win in week 7 will elevate their win-loss record to 3-4. This could put them back in striking distance for the playoffs. A loss will likely dash their playoff hopes.

Expect a shootout. The Falcons have the most productive offense in the NFL. San Diego’s offense is currently ranked fifth, despite their injury woes. The matchup features Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers, two experienced quarterbacks with a high level of confidence.

One thing to look for is if the Chargers have an answer for Atlanta’s slew of offensive weapons. One thing that will help San Diego is the return of CB Brandon Flowers and Safety Jaheel Addae, two injured members of their defensive secondary. The Chargers D hasn’t been great this year, but they did hold the defending champs to just 13 points last week. This proves that they can defeat a good team.

This week 7 matchup will come down to which team can slow down the other team’s offense. No one is going to be able to completely shut either one down. The Falcons have the strongest offense in the NFL this year and are playing at home. I think this gives them the edge on gameday.