Good for the game? Cubs president Theo Epstein, ex-commissioner Bud Selig discuss MLB rule changes

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 20:58:18-04

To change, or not to change?

Baseball has been America's pastime since the 1800s. Of course, times always change, but should the game change along with it? 

It's a polarizing question -- and ABC15's Jason Snavely was fortunate enough to pick the brains of two of the greatest baseball minds out there, former MLB commissioner Bud Selig and current Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein, about proposed rules changes such as a pitching clock, and placing a runner on second base at the beginning of each extra inning, in order to speed up the pace of the game. 

Both Epstein and Selig see themselves as traditionalists, but they also recognize change is sometimes necessary.

"I see myself more as a traditionalist, but I also recognize that we can't afford to lose a generation of young fans. We never want to see baseball lose its place as the national pastime," Epstein said. 

"We have to look ahead. Young people digest entertainment differently these days. They don't necessarily have the same attention spans we had growing up, and we have to be mindful of that while also respecting the game."

The 82-year-old Selig, who served as MLB commissioner from 1998-2015, is nearly twice as old as the 43-year-old Epstein -- but he's largely in the same boat. He said he'd be wary of making any major changes to the game, but he thinks the future of baseball is in good hands.

"The game's the greatest game in the world. Don't do anything that changes the game in any material way. That's my bottom line," he said. 

"I am traditional and I'm a traditionalist in every sense, but in my 23 years as commissioner, we made more changes (than anyone else), and I'm proud of them. As long as we don't disturb the game -- and we're not. (Current commissioner) Rob Manfred is very sensitive about it. He's doing great. So, I feel good about where they are. I really do. And the fans like the changes, and that's important."