C.J. Nitkowski knew that Major League Baseball, in enforcing its new domestic violence policy, would have to come down hard on Aroldis Chapman, and Nitkowski – a CBS Sports Radio and FOX MLB analyst – felt that a 30-game suspension was right on the money.
Whether current players agree with Chapman’s suspension, however, is anybody’s guess.
“(I don’t) really (know) because guys aren’t going to want to talk about it,” Nitkowksi said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The last thing that you want to do is even give a little bit of an inkling that you feel like maybe he got screwed. That’s probably the last thing that you want to do as a current player, especially (with) social media. You say even a little bit of the wrong thing, and you’re going to get piled on in social media. This is the kind of subject you just stay away from. Guys will toe the line very, very carefully and I don’t think they’ll chip in at all.”
Of course, the domestic violence policy isn’t the only new addition to baseball, as MLB has unveiled new pace-of-play rules designed to speed up the game. Beginning in 2016, mound visits by managers and coaches will be limited to 30 seconds, starting when the manager steps out of the dugout. MLB has also reduced the amount of time between innings – which sounds great in theory but may be problematic in practice.
“Last year they did a really good job of knocking down time in between innings – and that was good,” Nitkowski said. “But even though commercials nationally are 2:30 and locally they’re around two minutes, it was averaging about 2:45 to three minutes from the last pitch to the first pitch. You would sit there and you’d have the guy that sits down the third-base line tell the umpire when they’re back from commercial, and that would frustrate people. I’m a little worried fans are going to be upset because now it’s going to be two minutes. We still have two-minute commercial breaks or it’s 2:05. Our commercial breaks are still two minutes. Those ads are sold. They’re not going away. So that gives you basically two-and-a-half seconds to get in and two-and-a-half seconds to get out around every inning if you’re going to split it up evenly.”
And if it’s not split up evenly?
“There’s going to be a lot of first pitches that are missed coming back from commercial break, and fans are going to be upset,” Nitkowski said. “I think Major League Baseball – I love the idea (of shortening the time between innings), but it could be a regrettable decision in that regard. Because remember, the reason these guys are getting monster contracts is because of the TV deals. . . . You are going to see a lot of fans complaining (about) maybe missing a significant amount of pitches coming back from commercial break.”