MLBPA chief Tony Clark delivered his annual speech to the Twins before their workout on Sunday before meeting with reporters.
Clark later fielded questions from us about pace of play changes, tanking and the luxury tax. His most interesting remarks came in response to questions about pace of play.
He said there, indeed, were conversations about bringing bullpen cars back to speed up pitching changes. I like the idea of a bullpen car, regardless if it is to speed up changes or not. If they want to speed up changes, they can bring them out in golf carts, segways, hoverboards, drones or zip lines, for all I care.
But because of the emphasis on pace of play, players are now telling the league to let them police themselves. To me, that is a sharp 180 from recent years, when batters wanted time to listen to their walk-up music, adjust their uniform or think about the next pitch. Pitchers like to walk around the mound - particularly with runners on base - to collect themselves and re-foucs.
"We were moving things a long in a way we were hopeful was goiong to land on some common ground," Clark said. "There just wasn't enough common ground to address some of the concerns. It lent itself to the league implementing certain facets of the rules. and it led to players having an interest in focusing in on a number of things they can control themselves."
There's no pitch clock, like the league threatened to use. Fines are expected to be handed to habitual offenders of current rules. And now players want to take it upon themselves to change?
If the players want to speed up the game, then MLB has won. Just the threat of installing a pitch clock or punishing teams with by assessing ball and strike penalties has led to behavior modification.
Clark said that the change reflects a reaction to rule changes in recent years, like the abolishment of take out slides and collisions at home plate.
"We know, as we have talked to players, that any and all of those adjustments have guys thinking about things that they haven't normally thought about," Clark said. "To the extent that it affects them at the plate, to the extent that it affects them on the mound, to the extent that it affects them in the field."
I just don't think it is enough.
The way the game is played goes beyond adjusting clothes and taking deep breaths to avoid hypervenilation in tense situations. As I pointed out recently, there are more foul balls hit and 3-2 counts than ever. At-bats are taking longer and longer, regardless of what's happening between pitches.
If the league wants faster games, cut them down to seven innings. I kid. But my point is that there is little they can do to change this.
The Rays are in town, and the traveling squad inclues former Twins Denard Span and Wilson Ramos.
Kevin Kiermaier, DH
Denard Span, LF
C.J. Cron, 1B
Wilson Ramos, C
Joey Wendle, 2B
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
Justin Williams, RF
Christian Arroyo, 3B
Johnny Field, CF
Blake Snell, LHP
Ehrie Adrianza, LF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Byron Buxton, CF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Jason Castro, C
Mitch Garver, 1B
Max Kepler, RF
Ryan LaMarre, DH
Nick Gordon, 2B
Kyle Gibson, RHP