Day two of the General Manager Meetings had Major League Baseball's Commissioner, Rob Manfred, address the media touching on several topics.
Fate of Pete Rose
Despite applying for reinstatement back in 1997 and meeting with ex-commissioner Bud Selig in 2002, Pete Rose never got resolution on his appeal. Once Rob Manfred was sworn in as commissioner, Rose again applied to be reinstated. They met in September and Manfred has announced he will make up his mind by the end of 2015.
Gambling is a great sin in baseball. If Manfred accepted Rose's appeal, and lift the lifetime ban, it could end up being a slippery slope. Would that mean baseball would reconsider the ban on White Sox great, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson?
Then there's the issue of MLB's involvement with DraftKings. In 2013, MLB had invested a small stake in the daily fantasy website and in April signed a multi-year deal to be an exclusive partner. Yesterday, the attorney general of New York, Eric Schneiderman, announced that DraftKings and FanDuel are no longer allowed to accept bets.
Breaking News: New York’s attorney general ordered two fantasy sports sites to stop taking bets in the state https://t.co/eniHw7D3by
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 10, 2015
A month ago, Nevada Gaming Control Board made the same ruling. Both states believe that the daily fantasy sites are a form of gambling and not "a game of skill." During the World Series, Manfred addressed this issue. At the time, disagreeing with the notion that its gambling and showing no regrets in baseball's partnership with DraftKings.
It would be quite interesting to see how MLB would react if Congress stepped in (and they will soon) and deemed both daily fantasy sites as a form of gambling. A league that has fought against gambling for a century would find itself supporting the wrong team. If Manfred rules to continue the ban for Rose and Congress declares daily fantasy sites are a form of gambling, that's going to look bad for MLB.
Spring Training Game in Cuba
With relations continuing to improve and sanctions lifted between the United States and Cuba, Manfred hopes to see an exhibition game in Cuba soon. Logistically, it would make sense to select a spring training game in the Grapefruit League and move it to Havana. If MLB is seeking volunteers, it would be great for the White Sox to step up as tribute. Baltimore Orioles were the last team to play in Havana back in 1999, when they played a home and away series against the Cuban National Team.
That series introduced Jose Contreras to the world, as he pitched eight scoreless innings while striking out 10. How great of a sight would it be to see Contreras throw the first pitch donning a White Sox hat? Or the fans reaction welcoming Jose Abreu back. While every team would have something to gain with better relations between the two countries, I have a feeling the Sox could benefit more than most teams.
Jose Reyes Arrest
I have been pondering the past few days on how Manfred would handle a domestic abuse situation, like how Roger Goodell has faced with Ray Rice and Greg Hardy in the NFL. Unfortunately, the baseball world will find out as Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was arrested after allegedly slamming his wife into a glass door. Our friends over at Purple Row have done a great job covering this. It is a horrible incident and I can't imagine being a Rockies fan right now. Trade away the team superstar for an overpriced, oft-injured player who could face a suspension for allegedly beating up his wife. No matter how you spin that trade, it leaves an awful taste in the mouth.
Protective Netting Coming to a Stadium Near You
We saw too many fans being carried out of baseball stadiums injured and bleeding this past season. The old school crowd chime that too many fans are paying attention to their smartphones than the game. Hence why when a line drive zips into the seats fans get hurt. I get that point of view, but the reality is with social media and even the MLB At Bat app, paying attention to your mobile device is part of the experience. Extending protective netting to the end of dugouts, or my suggest, down to the foul pole would mostly ensure that fans will be safe from baseball's and broken bats.
Reason I would like it extended to the foul pole, is I'm tired of watching fans interrupting the action on field by reaching for a ball in play. Sure, it would eliminate the opportunity for players to make a spectacular catches in the seats like Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo. I'm willing to sacrifice those plays to make sure that a fan doesn't prevent extra bases or runs scored. We won't know for sure how baseball will go about installing protective netting until Manfred discusses this issue with the owners on December 18th. Obviously, no one-size-fits-all solution exists as each ballpark is unique. Many details need to be worked out before we see them across the league.
For those complaining that watching the game behind netting would be too distracting. Best seats in the house are already behind protective netting. If you don't like it, can always sit in the bleachers.
Disclosure: SB Nation has a partnership with FanDuel to produce content about daily fantasy sports and advertise their games.