MILWAUKEE — Baseball general managers met in two separate sessions here on Tuesday, and the biggest potential news coming out of the business meetings is on a topic that’s not received a lot of attention: a possible change from the current rule expanding rosters from 25 to 40 players every Sept. 1 for the remainder of the regular season.
“[The rosters] are something that’s been discussed, and I know I discussed it with all the GMs and the managers when I toured the camps in the spring,” said Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operation. “It’s something that the Commissioner’s [14-man Special] Committee has put on the list for discussion.”
There’s some talk among the clubs about ending the long-time practice that comes at the conclusion of the Minor League season, or at least curtailing it. Most clubs don’t expand to 40 men, and the smaller-market teams, which prefer to carry fewer players, believe they are at a disadvantage to the larger-market clubs, which are more financially able to do so.
Other GMs argue that MLB plays with one set of rules all season and then changes those rules for the final and most important month.
One idea is to have a smaller “taxi squad.” Another is to at least designate specific players to be used prior to each game beyond the regular 25-man roster.
“It’s something that we’re seriously considering,” Torre said. “You can expand the rosters to 40, but there are so many opinions about that. Making [only] so many people eligible for each game has been one suggestion. I think it’s just really coming to terms with how we are going to [change] it, more so than if we’re going to [change] it, at this point.”
There was also some discussion about the expansion of television instant replay to aid umpires on fair-or-foul calls.
On that issue, Torre said there was continuing questions from the GMs. Right now, replay is utilized to judge home run calls — in or out, fair or foul. Expansion of its use has been discussed for the past two years, but the system has not been altered. That may change for next season when it comes to balls that remain in play when hit down each foul line.
“I think the Commissioner hinted at a possible fair and foul change, going over fair and foul balls,” Torre said. “Again, once you make that statement, then you start thinking about things that can go wrong with it. One thing is the fact that you call a ball foul and replay shows it’s fair, now where are we putting the runners? It’s not that easy.
“You say, ‘Let’s replay this, let’s replay that’ when certain things come up. If you’re going to increase replay — say fair or foul — you have to talk about all these situations. It’s going to be tougher on the umpires, trying to get the call right. If they happen to call it foul and it ends as fair, now it’s their job to place the runners. I’m not sure that’s going to speed the game up.”
Exactly what I reckoned~ Where will umpires put runners if a ball is called wrong?! Like the ground-ruled doubles?! To get this issue further, how about stealing bases? Should an instant replay be applied, too?! How many times will a game be paused if all plays require instant replays?! *yawning*