Since his appointment as MLB commissioner in 2015, Rob Manfred hasn’t shied away from the prospect of making significant changes to America’s pastime.
He immediately prioritized speeding up the sport, in an effort to make the game more appealing to younger viewers. This led to the enforcement of two new rules, where hitters must remain in the batters box during the duration of an at-bat, as well as managers only being allowed to challenge a play by giving a sign in the dugout.
Manfred has since shifted his attention to additional matters, including a controversial topic in sign-stealing, that took the league by storm during the 2017 season.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB will begin listening to conversations had over phones in dugouts to help curb sign-stealing conversations:
As I reported last week, baseball is installing new phones in every dugout and recording and monitoring all discussions with the goal of eliminating sign-stealing conversations.
There were multiple incidents and accusations last season of sign-stealing that garnered national attention. Most notably, the Boston Red Sox were caught in the act of utilizing ofan Apple Watch, in which Manfred responded by imposing a fine.
Among other changes that Manfred has envisioned for the sport includes a 20-second pitch clock, which Manfred believes is essential for improving the pace of play.
However, the Players’ Union is expected to reject such a proposal if presented to them. Some believe the reasoning behind this may stem from frustration in regards to the number of unsigned free agents that remain with less than one month until Spring Training officially begins.