New York, New York - Rob Manfred, brand new Commissioner for Major League Baseball, has not been content to rest on his buns as the first new Commissioner since Bud Selig took office in July of 1998. In his first month on the job, Manfred has seemingly taken every opportunity to shake things up. Manfred has spoken of banning the shift in baseball, which would directly combat current defensive trends and practices in the league, and discussed limiting the baseball season back to 154 games. In addition, he has overseen the entry of MLB's new game pace rules, which take place this year and aim to shorten unnecessarily lengthy contests and improve the viewing experience.
Another rule change will occur this year--one that, reportedly, Manfred relished the opportunity to change. Currently, home field advantage is decided upon by the winner of the MLB All-Star game. Listening to the evidence and opinions that such an important factor in the league championship should not be decided upon by a trivial exhibition like the All-Star Game, Manfred and his team decided to base that decision on something far more substantial: a hot dog race.
"This is absolutely a great idea and will improve the sport of baseball," MLB liaison Oskar Meyers told reporters at the unveiling of the 2015 Official Hot Dog Race. "We think that two athletes racing as sticks of meat will be able to appropriately represent the hopes and dreams of the millions of players, coaches, and fans of their respective leagues. It will be an amazing event."
The American League and National League Home Run Derby finalists will be the two players tasked with the Race once the Derby itself is over. This brings in strategy to selection of the Derby contestants and deepens the fan experience, Meyers claimed. "Speed and athleticism will become a factor in the Derby. A one-dimensional power hitter will be working hard to play catch-up in the Hot Dog Race if he wins." Additionally, Meyers stated that such a finale would help keep viewers glued to the television longer if they knew there would be a fantastic climax to the evening.
Ultimately, it will remain to be seen if this decision will cut the mustard. Some fans are already up in arms over the decision, as strong voices ask pointed questions such as, "How is this an improvement?", "What happens if one of the contestants falls?" and "Why can't it be the Tofu Race instead?"
Manfred himself has stated that he didn't expect universal acceptance of the plan and that he "fully expected to be grilled" by reporters regarding the decision. Still, he insists, the integrity of baseball will be improved, and new traditions will be blazed. He says that, in future years, the American League or National League's very own wiener will be an important part of the World Series.