The Yankees and Athletics resume their series with a 4pm ET game later today. Until then, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.
Comcast-YES dispute not near resolution
A non-update on the Comcast-YES dispute: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told John Ourand the two sides are not close to working out an agreement. “We’re learning from the experience that we’re having (with YES) and we hope to get it resolved at some point. But maybe not,” said Roberts. Comcast does not want to pay the rights fees to carry YES, so right now Comcast customers can’t watch the Yankees. Sling TV and Playstation Vue are alternatives for the time being. Eventually the two sides will come to their senses, right?
Changes to strike zone, intentional walks approved
At the quarterly owners’ meetings this week the competition committee approved changes to the strike zone and intentional walks, according to Jayson Stark. In a nutshell, they’ll raise the bottom of the strike zone from the “hollow beneath the kneecap” to the top of the knee, and allow teams to signal for an intentional walk without actually making the pitcher throw four balls. The changes could take effect as soon as next season.
It’s important to note the rule changes are not final. The competition committee has given them the thumbs up, and now the rules committee has to do the same. They’ll also run them by the MLBPA and umpires’ union even though they technically do not need their approval to implement the rule changes. I don’t love the intentional walk rule change — make the pitcher execute the pitch, what if he airmails one? — but it’s another attempt to improve the pace of play.
The strike zone, on the other hand, has slowly been dropping for years. Raising the bottom of the zone figures to lead to fewer strikeouts and more balls in play — specifically more balls in the air — and thus more excitement. The league average strikeout rate is a record 21.1% this year. That’s bad. Strikeouts are boring. More balls in play means more base-runners and more runs scored.
MLB, MLBPA have met 12 times for CBA talks
The MLB and the MLBPA have already had 12 negotiating sessions for the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement, commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed to Ken Davidoff. “Twelve meetings at this point in the calendar is a really, really good schedule,” said the commissioner, who also said he’s optimistic the two sides will work out a deal before the current CBA expires on December 1st.
Although it’s not a hard deadline, it would behoove MLB and MLBPA to get a deal hammered out by the end of the World Series. That way any changes to the qualifying offer and draft pick compensation system can be implemented right away this offseason rather than be pushed back to next year. The current CBA was agreed to in the middle of the offseason, which created some headaches. The most important thing is getting it done, but the sooner the better.