This could be Rob Manfred's decade. No, check that out: it must be Rob Manfred’s decade.
The recent death of NBA Commissioner David Stern gave us all reason to think about the development of North American professional sport. to think about how the NFL has become a monolith that will only be pushed out of its place as the continent's largest league if it collapses; how the NBA has become an international brand that only competes with the Premier League of football and maybe with FC Barcelona; How the NHL – led by Gary Bettman, an NBA employee – buried its financial worries; and how did major league baseball … well what exactly?
Stern is rightly credited with creating an environment in which its players and owners can thrive. Certainly he was supported by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and then by Michael Jordan and the others, but it was Stern who, because of his personality, brought about a kind of peace between hip-hop, urban culture and a suburban fan base that made it possible for any side, to find enough space to breathe. The NBA is a league of players, and the owners don't seem to mind. If you think about it, it's a hell of a good thing.
Manfred has a kind of work peace, even more after a off-season when teams spent enough money to devastate collusion, and the country's overall economic situation was confused by mixed messages from traditional wholesalers like the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sign up for the Blue Jays newsletter
Get the best of our Blue Jays reporting and exclusive offers straight to your inbox!
It wasn't your father's off-season, was it? That doesn't mean there won't be any hot spots in the next round of collective bargaining, but given the windfall that is possible through active partnerships with legalized sports betting and advanced media, the differences in game participation and TV contracts appear to be little concern in these days. Even building new stadiums doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. There is money to get around.
No, the stuff Manfred is testing is more worrying than just adding up the financial figures.
He is faced with the very real possibility of publicly admitting that both the 2017 World Series champion and the 2018 World Series champion bypassed rules for in-game technology, which is equivalent to an institutional fraud campaign. Then he has to face a multi-million dollar fine, loss of draft picks or executive suspensions and – who knows? – uniformed staff.
Ben Nicholson-Smith is the baseball editor at Sportsnet. Arden Zwelling is an older writer. Together they offer you the most extensive Blue Jays podcast in the league, which contains all the latest news with opinions and analysis as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.
This is at a time when baseball seems to be at a point in terms of electronic strike zones and the like where there is no return. The excellent Hannah Keyser from Yahoo! Sports reported last week that experiments with catcher-to-pitcher or coach-to-pitcher audio connections will begin (think of on-field receivers used by quarterbacks that allow them to hear game calls from a coach and which are then cut off after a certain time before the start of the game). This is a reaction to stealing signs, but it can also have the added benefit of speeding up the game, eliminating flashing and shaking signs from the catcher to the pitcher.
Manfred may have more on his plate than Stern ever before when it comes to actually playing the game.
Offensive is now more than ever the currency of sport due to fantasy leagues, games of chance and social media. There is no three-point shot waiting for Major League Baseball like a magic bullet; In fact, baseball's biggest problem is that its biggest offensive game, the homerun, has become cheaper.
There is a fixed or hunger element in the game that has reduced the fact that baseball like soccer is best when it comes to building, not just payoff. Bad enough, it's the only sport where the defense has the ball and the first act of the game is inherently a penalty: I, the thrower, will start things with an action to ensure that nothing happens ,
And when do I start the campaign? Well … have you seen this defensive change before? And there is no clock to play around with, not really, although the game at least now forces the time between fields and the number of hill rides. This season, the relief jugs have to grapple with at least three rackets by the end of an inning. Game speed? Pace of the game?
Buckle up. No sport in the world will look different from baseball after these next 10 years. No sport has to. Stern made his bones by giving players a sport that was an afterthought, the ugly duckling of television. He bet on athletics, skill and coolness and won. Times will not allow Manfred to do that. He needs to freshen up what many see as anachronism. The breaks and pace suggest that baseball is tailor-made for in-game betting, but that might not be enough.
QUIBBLES AND BITS
One thing will happen before 2029: MLB will be back in Montreal with a relocated Tampa Bay Rays franchise by hook or crook. Completed.
• Boyfriend Ray Ratto, sports journalist from Legendary Bay Area, made an interesting comment this week when he suggested that one of the reasons for the success of the San Francisco 49ers was the highly regarded offensive coach Kyle Shanahan, ”he thought like a General Manager ”by designing Nick Bosa, acting for Dee Ford and signing Kwon Alexander to improve the team's defense.
Ratto believes Shanahan has argued that defense is the quickest route to credibility in the NFL. The 49ers only managed 37 bags in the last regular season; They had six against the Minnesota Vikings – one less than the number of first losses the Vikings offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski, had conjured up. He was the next to be fired as Cleveland Brown's head coach. Can he take Kirk Cousins? with him?).
If the 49ers win this thing – and I make them favorites – this farewell in the first round they received will have played a big role in making these defenders well.
• The Tennessee Titans caused the biggest surprise in the NFL on Sunday after the season. Until their move in 1997, they were the Houston Oilers – the Oilers were, of course, the same team that had a 32-point lead over Frank Reich and the Buffalo Bills in a playoff game on January 3 to 41 in extra time -38 to be lost in 1993.
Tell me you didn't think about that at least a second Sunday when the team that replaced the Oilers in Houston – the Texans – took the lead 24-0.
• Sergio Aguero's hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Aston Villa in Man City brought him 177 goals and overtook Thierry Henry to claim the title of most successful player in Premier League history.
21 of his goals were supported by teammate David Silva, who was born in Spain. This helps a non-English teammate the most from a non-English player. It is the second highest overall template for a player in history, after only Frank Lampard's 24 templates for goals from Didier Drogba and ahead of Darren (Sicknote) Anderton and Teddy Sheringham (20). Steve McManaman to Robbie Fowler (20); Christian Eriksen to Harry Kane (19); Kevin DeBruyne to Aguero (18); Robert Pires to Henry (17); Dele Alli to Kane (16); Nobby Solano to Alan Shearer (16); and Henry to Freddie Ljungberg (15). Silva assisted on one of Aguero's goals on Sunday. DeBruyne had two templates.
• Maybe it's because the Toronto Raptors' title fight was spoiled in 2018-19, but despite all the merits that the club's reserve players were awarded for the significant role they played in this team, to save body and soul Together through all of these injuries, there are times when an excessive addiction to catching lightning in a bottle catches up with you.
This season, the Raptors rushed several times, trying another pass for an impossible shot or, as was the case with Hassan Whiteside from Portland Trail Blazers, trying to find a place where none existed. Small point, but a reminder that there are reasons why some players are beginners and other reserves.
• I still expect the Toronto Blue Jays to add an outfield player and I hope Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna are still in the free agent market, the reason we haven't seen any movement ,
I do not expect the Blue Jays to sign Castellanos (although this off-season has surprised us), and although there has been much talk about Ozuna in the past, only about its addition while a needed center was added to the relevant racket, would not support the team’s external defense.
I am fine with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the left field and I have no sense that the Blue Jays or Randal Grichuk want him in midfield. I wonder if we'll see a scenario where the Blue Jays move one of their incumbent outfield players – Teoscar Hernandez. – and one of their understated prospects among minors to win someone who can be offensive and / or defensively a game changer.
Do that, and we'll talk about a possible placeholder.
THE END GAME
We had the great Peter King at Writers Bloc on Friday to discuss the Shambolian shortage of visible minorities hired as head coaches in the NFL and in leadership positions in general, with a number of visible minorities hired by each team on the coaching staff ,
Since the "Rooney Rule", which is intended to ensure that visible minority candidates are considered for jobs, has proved ineffective, King's idea has a lot of merit. This is a problem of NFL ownership – not the league office – but the league office, which must now intervene and create the kind of framework that can do more than just suspect or suggest. Ultimately, the answer is that minorities are owned and, above all, the offices of the managing directors are occupied.
But until then, pressure from below can accelerate change if as many visible minorities are on the coaching staff as possible. It makes it easier to ask difficult questions. Why on earth should anyone else who wants to advance his career want to be an assistant coach who knows that he is faced with institutional bias and a roadblock?
Jeff Blair moderates the Writers Bloc with Stephen Brunt and Richard Deitsch from 2pm to 5pm. ET on Sportsnet 590 / The Fan. He probably doesn't like your favorite team.