Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has often been criticized for his tinkering of the rules, usually in an effort to improve the pace of play in the game.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes he should stop. Why?
In a Q&A with Sportico on Tuesday, Manfred was addressing how baseball is embracing legalized sports betting and recalled a conversation he had with Silver about the matter.
“The biggest issue is that sports betting is the biggest opportunity of fan engagement,” Manfred said. “I’ll tell you a funny story — one night I was coming back from an event and the phone rang and it was Adam Silver. And we were talking about something and he said, ‘Rob you gotta stop talking about the pace of game. Your pace of game is going to be absolutely perfect for sports betting.’ And he’s right.
Among some of the recent new rules in baseball to improve pace of play include relief pitchers required to face a minimum three batters in an inning, seven-inning doubleheaders and starting extra innings with a runner on second.
But perhaps Silver is onto something.
With the time between pitches and innings, fans have the opportunity to place more live wagers during the course of the game than other sports, such as the NBA.
Ironically, sports betting has long been held as a cardinal sin in baseball but it could very well be what keeps baseball true to its roots.
Manfred certainly believes there is a bright future with baseball and sports betting.
“We do see it as an opportunity in everything we do — our broadcast, all forms of fan engagement,” he said. “It is better for our fans and those interested in it to fill in the gaps for the game and another opportunity for entertainment that our fans clearly want.”