Former Yankee Jim Leyritz Rips Rob Manfred, Says MLB Hasn’t ‘Changed For The Better’

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Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred continue to roll out some of the biggest changes the sport has seen in decades.

Last season, the league got rid of the only noticeable difference between the American and National Leagues, by replacing pitchers with designated hitters in the NL.

Meanwhile this year it’s been a contentious debate amongst baseball purists and “new school” fans with an array of new rules and changes including the controversial pitch clock.

For former New York Yankees World Series Champion Jim Leyritz however, he believes that the changes haven’t made the game better.


“I do think [the changes] have made the game a lot more questionable,” Leyritz said during an appearance on Outkick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich.”

“I do think it’s changing… Every time Rob Manfred puts a new thing in, it hurts the game and it makes them look bad.”

Leyritz didn’t go into too much detail about which of the new rules he doesn’t approve of, but he did cite that the rise of analytics has taken away the fun of the sport.

“What I’ve seen and what’s been happening with the sabermetrics becoming everything and the way the game has changed… I’ll still be labeled “old school”… but we had a passion to play this game and not to be a robot and to be controlled by all these things that they’re doing with the game. It’s a shame,” the former Yankees catcher continued.

Any baseball fan would most likely agree with Leyritz’s point here.

The rise of analytics and sabermetrics has made managers make VERY questionable in-game decisions, much of the time at the behest of the General Manager and Front Office Execs who swear by the numbers. When a team is so super-focused on analytics, they lose track of things like a player being in a rhythm or just rolling with someone when they’re hot.

The thing about sports is – it can’t always be explained by stats and numbers. It’s human-driven, full of emotion, passion, as well as sometimes some luck by the grace of God (I’m looking at you Kirk Gibson and David Tyree)


One thing that Jim Leyritz said however that I disagree with is that he thinks the rule changes will be pulled back in the coming years.

“I do think every time Rob Manfred puts a new thing in, it hurts the game and it makes them look bad. So I think things will hopefully roll back in the next five years a little more to to the way it used to be played,” Leyritz continued.

Former Yankee Jim Leyritz believes the sport isn’t changing for the better. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Jim – as a longtime Yankees fan I loved watching you play. Can’t thank you enough for hitting key home-runs not only in 1995 but also that 1996 World Series Championship run.

But if we’ve learned ANYTHING about professional sports, once these leagues move forward with something, it is extremely difficult for them to admit their faults and revert backwards. If anything – they will just add more rules and restrictions to cover for their ineptitude. Sure, maybe the actual amount of seconds on the pitch clock change, but it’s not going anywhere. And far too many people are making too much money punching numbers to get rid of a franchise’s analytical team.

For baseball fans that think the new rules are hurting the game now, I leave you with this:

Just wait until the robo-umpires come.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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