At times like these, it never hurts to dig into the Canon of Yogi.
“If the fans don’t come out to the ballpark,” baseball’s most eloquent philosopher may or may not have said many years ago, “you can’t stop them.”
I get what Rob Manfred is trying to do. He is trying to invent baseball fans. He is trying to make his sport appealing. One of Manfred’s predecessors in the commissioner’s office, Bowie Kuhn, made it a full-time preoccupation to always identify what was “in the best interests of the game.”
No commissioner of any sport ever works for the worst interests of the game.
But there are times when you wonder if Manfred, commissioner of baseball, actually likes baseball. There are times when you see him working so furiously to cultivate and create however many millions of people that aren’t fans of his game that he risks alienating and infuriating however many millions of people are.
And so we get … well, we get a lot of weird stuff. We get weird ideas. We get the rule that debuted in some minor leagues last year where, after a few extra innings, a runner is planted on second base to start every inning. We get the rule that will be introduced…