A manager’s umpire rant goes online, and Manfred cries foul
NEW YORK (AP) — Commissioner Rob Manfred says Major League Baseball is trying to remove from the internet the leaked video of former Mets manager Terry Collins ranting at umpires.
The profanity-laced video surfaced this week from a Dodgers-Mets game in May 2016 that Fox televised. Collins fumes after ace Noah Syndergaard is ejected in the third inning for throwing a fastball behind Chase Utley. In the 2015 playoffs, Utley broke the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada with a late, hard slide.
Umpire crew chief Tom Hallion is heard explaining the ejection to Syndergaard, Neil Walker and other Mets, then he breaks away to head off Collins. For many fans, the loud exchange between Collins and Hallion illuminated what actually gets said during heated disputes.
“We made a commitment to the umpires that if they would wear microphones, certain types of interactions that we all know go on the field would not be aired publicly,” Manfred said Thursday after the owners meetings ended.
“We promised them that. It’s in the collective bargaining agreement. We had no choice in a situation like that then to do everything possible to live up to our agreement. It is Labor Relations 101. To not do that is the kind of breach of trust that puts you in a bad spot over the long haul,” he said.
Manfred said there was conversation this week about how defensive shifts have affected the game. Batting averages are dropping, among other developments, and Manfred said MLB’s Competition Committee wanted to see “whether it’s time for us to manage these trends a little more aggressively.”
A change that could occur as soon as next season: teams playing a two-game series on the weekend.
Normally, clubs meet for three games over the weekend. But in the case where marquee teams play just twice — say, Nationals-Yankees — those might be held on Saturday and Sunday.
Manfred said baseball was pleased with the pace of play. Games this year were averaging 2 hours, 59 minutes, 49 seconds through Wednesday; last year, they averaged 3:05:11.
Mound visits by catchers, coaches, managers and other teammates for nonpitching changes are down, too, from 7.41 last year to an average of 3.92 this season.
Manfred said the owners had a long discussion about the “sports betting landscape” after Delaware and New Jersey began legal betting on games.
As for the never-ending debate on the designated hitter and whether the National League would ever switch to the DH, Manfred said: “I think that is a continuing source of conversation among the ownership group and I think that the dialogue actually probably moved a little bit.”