Earlier this week during the daily Scout Fantasy Show from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET on SiriusXM Fantasy, hosts Adam Ronis and Dr. Roto were discussing in-season rules changes.
Specifically, the question was posed as to whether league commissioners should be allowed to alter rules during the season. When the topic was opened up to Twitter exchanges, the modifier was added, “or is that too shady?”
Here is my take. No commissioner of any league should have the power to enact rules changes on his/her own at any time. After all, they are in charge of regulating leagues, not serving as dictator.
In 99.9 percent of leagues, the commissioner is also a competitor. From this is where the “shady” comment comes. Whether it could be proven that a proposed rule change would actually benefit a particular owner or not is immaterial. The commish needs to remain completely impartial at all times – and that includes perception.
If your commissioner disagrees with that, you need to find a different league in which to compete.
On Twitter, one follower, CheckerBDMafia, left the door open, based on the situation.
“Generally no, but if a mistake was made&vote =yes. Had waiver wire set wrong. Was allowing worst team to get every player instead of rolling,” he tweeted.
I consider this neither a rules change nor an exception. This action is simply fixing a problem caused by a human error. Hopefully, this league’s correct waiver rules were spelled out in the league’s constitution.
Commenter Mike_Santulli has been there and done that – and wished he hadn’t.
“I've done that as Commissioner looking to improve the league but only caused problems. Vote on a change for next season,” Santulli tweeted.
Mike has it exactly right – the second time. The ideal timeframe in which to consider a rules change for next year is this year, when the problem situation is fresh in everyone’s mind. However, even if passed now, it has to go into effect next season – in every case.
A league in which “dsfsoxfan” is a member has already made an in-season change here in 2017. I disagree with it for philosophical reasons, but see why it was done.
“Just had one this year with the DL spots in a dyno league. Expanded the DL due to the massive number of DL's,” he tweeted.
With the change of the minimum MLB disabled list stay from 15 days to 10 this season, 25-man roster churn has intensified. According to ESPN data from March 31 through May 14, MLB DL stays are up 16.2 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. (If you click on the link, you can also read about how at least one MLB club is manipulating the new rule to essentially play with a 26-man roster.)
Still, the only way I would support what dfssoxfan’s league did is if the in-season vote was a true 100 percent in favor of change. And in how many leagues would every single owner agree on anything?
To be honest, I would actually first try to talk them out of having a finite number of DL spots in the first place. I believe any limit, which by definition is arbitrary, unfairly penalizes team owners with bad luck. But that is a topic for another day.
I agree with my final quoted commenter, TheFFLCommish - I think.
“If a loophole is found, it should be closed. All leagues should have a constitution and the commish should have a "best for league" mindset,” he tweeted.
Let’s break this remark down into its three components.
Yes, all leagues should have a constitution – no exceptions. If one is needed, you can find scores of examples on the internet. Pick one as a base and identify the changes you need. While you are at it, make sure your rules also clarify whether the support of a simple majority of owners is required to enact a rule change or if a higher percent is desired.
Yes, every commissioner should have a mindset to do what is best for the league, but let’s get real. No commish is perfect. Complicating matters is the reality that they are league competitors, too. The very best place to be in is to have every situation already covered in the rules. That way, the commissioner is like the Maytag repairman – all dressed up with no place to go.
On the other hand, if your commissioner is having to make a lot of hands-on decisions during the season, it tells me your league constitution is weak.
To come full circle, TheFFLCommish’s first comment is the one about which I am unsure. Loopholes do need to be closed - but just make sure you enact the change for next year.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter @B_Walton.