D-backs’ Ken Kendrick: MLB lockout ending is ‘the dawn of a new day’
Baseball is back.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA ended the lockout on Thursday and announced that Opening Day will take place on April 7.
That means the Arizona Diamondbacks will open the 2022 season at Chase Field against the San Diego Padres.
D-backs owner and managing general partner Ken Kendrick joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday following the announcement.
“It’s kinda been that nightmare you’ve been in for what seems like your entire life and then all of a sudden there’s the dawn of a new day,” he said. “Today was the dawn of a new day.
“I’m very happy for our fans, very happy for our players, very happy for all of us who work for the Diamondbacks and all the other major league clubs on a daily basis. It’s a good day for baseball.”
Kendrick also hinted at when spring training could take place, saying, “We’re now back to having the game we all love starting up literally at Salt River in about 10 days.”
Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports‘ Dan Bickley on Thursday that the D-backs can still play between 20-25 spring training games.
Kendrick spoke on the current relationship between the owners and players when it comes to spending and receiving money. The D-backs owner wants MLB to be like the NFL, NBA and NHL in that they all have some version or something similar to a salary cap, salary floor and sharing of revenues.
“(The owners) recognize that we need to forge a partnership with the players rather than a system that makes us adversaries,” he said.
In fact, Kendrick said that after the NHL implemented that model, the top-spending team only outspent the lowest spending team by 1.5 times, while MLB is currently at 6.5 times.
“We have teams that do not spend a fair amount on their teams. … That is not a system that can sustain itself overtime in a competitive environment and that has to change,” he said.
“And both ends need to change, not just one end.”
Kendrick also listed several rule changes that will have a big impact on the game, which he says will increase the product on the field.
However, the following rule changes won’t take effect until the 2023 season:
– 18-second pitch clock
– No shifts
– Larger bases
Kendrick says two infielders will have to be on either side of second base and on the dirt, while larger bases will slightly shorten the distance between bases in order to promote more aggressive baserunning and stealing.
“The year that it was in play last baseball season in the minor leagues, each game on average was reduced by nearly 25 minutes in length,” he said of the 18-second pitch clock. “That’s a significant efficiency to the game, makes the game move at a better pace.”