Word broke yesterday changes are coming this season to how Major League Baseball clubs make public their starting lineups.
Teams must now submit lineups to the league office 15 minutes prior to making the information available for public consumption in order to bring consistency and structure to how such information is distributed.
Such information will reportedly be disseminated through Major League Baseball’s official data feeds across various social media platforms. Why the need for this uniformity, you ask?
With the rapid evolution of state-approved sports betting comes the need for increased regulation. Times are changing and baseball has embraced the inevitable. After decades of attempting to distance itself from sports wagering, MLB recently aligned with MGM Resorts, making the company the league’s official gaming partner. Last week, MLB also partnered with Sportradar to handle the distribution of its game data to legal sportsbooks. Here is MLB’s statement on the new lineup procedures:
We are updating a number of our procedures to reduce integrity risks associated with the expansion of sports betting in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling last May. One new procedure is that we now ask Clubs to submit starting lineups in a uniform fashion in order to reduce the risk of confidential information being ‘tipped.” This approach mirrors those of international sports leagues in more developed betting markets.
To simplify, the league’s pivot to embrace betting necessitates a need to control the information in order to eliminate potential information leaks that could be exploited and thus damaging the integrity of baseball and/or the betting process.
What does this mean for you, the fan? Not much, other than how you might first learn of daily lineups.
Naturally, because baseball is antiquated in almost every way imaginable, some within the game are upset by this development:
Per MLB's gambling deal, managers have been told their daily lineups must 1st go to Commissioner's Office, not to PR, not to media. "I'm really bothered by this," one manager says. It's OK to not field he best team, for service time reasons, but lineups 1st must go to Vegas.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 6, 2019
Is it a deviation from tradition? Yes, but I don’t necessarily quite get the issue for managers here. Maybe they have to be more quickly forthcoming with their lineup construction, but the change shouldn’t fundamentally alter daily preparations.
While some will question whether such partnerships exists, a government-regulate business (a big one at that, needs to take the appropriate steps to ensure a proper protocol is in place). Write the lineup, send it in, and then post it to the public. The biggest losers here are baseball beat writers because baseball now controls and distributes an essential piece of information. How will the game go on without the throng of team beat guys each simultaneously posting to Twitter a shot of the day’s lineup hung on the wall?
Hard to imagine, really.