commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a press conference
after his first owners' meeting as baseball commissioner,
Thursday, May 21, 2015, in New York.
NEW YORK — New
baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he understands why the
Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins did not interview any minority
candidates when they hired new managers this month.
Bud Selig told teams in April 1999 they had to consider minorities
when hiring a manager, GM, assistant GM, director of player
development or director of scouting.
replaced Ron Roenicke with Craig Counsell, and Miami general
manager Dan Jennings took over from Mike Redmond.
Manfred said the
rule is difficult to apply to in-season changes "because time
obviously is of the essence."
"If a club
has an internal candidate that they're so sure about that they're
willing to forgo the opportunity to interview anyone, forcing
people through an interview process doesn't really make a lot of
sense," Manfred said Thursday following his first owners'
meeting since replacing Selig as commissioner in January.
who has that sort of rule has over time realized there are
situations in which either because of timing, exigencies or a
decision that's already made, that you have to be realistic in
terms of the enforcement," he said.
identifying as a racial minority dropped from 10 in 2009 to five
in 2014 to two this year, according to Richard Lapchick's
Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of
Central Florida. There were four people of color in GMs spots, up
one from last year and one below the high in 2009 and '10.
"I think we
also have some ideas that we're working on that go beyond that
rule," Manfred said, "providing additional support for
candidates in terms of not only getting an interview, but getting
While there has
been talk of shortening the regular-season schedule from 162
games, it is too early to tell whether the clubs will propose it
in bargaining with players.
schedule is a huge economic issue," Manfred said. "It
would require a lot of analysis before we would we would be
prepared to bargain on a topic like that."
PACE OF GAME
The average time
of a nine-inning game has dropped to 2 hours, 54 minutes through
Wednesday, down from 3:02 through a similar period last year,
according to STATS. That follows several initiatives implemented
by MLB and the players' union, such as clocks for between-inning
breaks and pitching changes, and requiring hitters to keep a foot
in the batter's box in many instances.
"We are very
encouraged by early returns," Manfred said. "We'd like
to hold that number. That's the trick now."
concerned about the drop in offense but is not ready to suggest
rules changes. Average runs per team per game have remained at 4.2
and the batting average at .251, STATS said.
looking for another year of data, at least," Manfred said.
"Realistically, that's an end-of-the-year evaluation."
He also said
changing the strike zone "was not something that was
discussed at any length."
While he doesn't
"see expansion as a hot topic" now, it is possible it
could be considered in five-to-10 years. "When the game
grows, expansion becomes a topic," he said. MLB is interested
in a greater presence in Canada and Mexico, "but in terms of
actual tactics and execution, we're just not there yet."
The restraints on
international signings of amateur players under 23, put in place
in the current labor contract that started in 2012, have not
worked the way MLB expected. "I think that the increased flow
of talent from Cuba has stressed that system, and it hasn't done
as well in response to that stress," Manfred said.
MLB still is
investigating positive tests for Stanozolol that resulted in
suspensions for pitchers Ervin Santana, Jenrry Mejia, Arodys
Vizcaino and Andrew McKirahan.
see a pattern like that, we do everything we can to figure out
whether there's a connection, whether it's a pattern, whether it's
a coincidence. We're just not at a point in that process that I
can give you a good answer to that question," he said.
MLB's four-year contract with the DISH Network.
the owners' dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant rather than 21.
He had ESPN President John Skipper speak to the group Wednesday.