On Monday, Major League Baseball announced pace-of-play changes for the 2018 season. The most notable being the limitation of pitching mound visits to six per game.
According to San Francisco Giants television analyst Mike Krukow, a former pitcher who spent 14 seasons in MLB, the limiting of pitching visits is fine by him. But he thinks the league is missing another, perhaps bigger opportunity to shorten games that could also potentially improve the league’s standing with advertisers.
Krukow’s solution: Add advertisements to the uniforms.
“I don’t like long innings during the playoffs, where there’s 2:45 minute breaks. I don’t like that,” Krukow told KNBR on Thursday. “To me, it’s obvious, if you want to speed things up, cut the innings back down to two minutes or 1:45 and put advertisements on the uniforms. I have no problem with that. I didn’t have a problem wearing a rum advertisement when I played in Puerto Rico.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is on record saying he’s open to the idea of putting ads on uniforms, so it’s not as far fetched as it might seem.
It’s already happening in baseball leagues around the world and even in the NBA, where about a dozen different teams are sporting advertisement patches on their jerseys. The NHL, for what it’s worth, has decided to hold off on adding ads for the time being after it became a topic of discussion.
It would surely lead to an interesting debate if Manfred ever put it on the table. If it meant chopping off 30 seconds during the regular season to a one minute between innings in the postseason, that would make quite a dent. Perhaps even more so than limiting pitching visits would. Purely looking at it from that perspective, it might be worthwhile to Manfred.
On the flipside, the league and team owners would undoubtedly be in another battle with the players, who would want their cut in whatever deal is made to put ads on their uniforms. Given the rising tensions stemming from a slow moving free agent market and reservations some players have about the initial pace-of-play changes, that’s not a battle the league is likely to pursue anytime soon.
Nonetheless, it’s definitely something to file away in the event that the league isn’t satisfied with the results of this year’s pace-of-play changes. A pitch clock would certainly come first, but ads on uniforms could actually be in MLB’s future.
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