MLB Network host Brian Kenny dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday to discuss his new book, “Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution,” which champions analytics and promotes new-age thinking about America’s pastime. Kenny delves into batting average (irrelevant), pitcher wins (do away with them) and bunting (please stop doing it), among other stats and staples of the game.
He also devalues Major League managers relative to coaches in other sports.
“If you were to put me on an NBA sideline as a coach, I’d get blown away. I’d have no clue,” Kenny said on Gio and Jones. “If you said, ‘Hey, take over an NFL practice on a Monday, you’ve got the week to get ready for Sunday,’ I’m dead meat. There’s no way I could do it. I do not have the expertise. I could not run practices. I would not be good at dealing with things like strategy and schemes and zones – no, no chance. But if you put me in a Major League dugout tomorrow, I’d be fine. There’s not that much to do. They make so much of it (about how you have) to manage the whole clubhouse. Yeah, in any job you have to communicate. Yeah, you have to be a leader. I’m not saying the job is easy, but could I do it? Yeah, I could do it. By the way, I couldn’t go into a hospital and perform surgery. I couldn’t go in and fix my air conditioning in my car. But I could manage a Major League team.”
Kenny’s biggest grievance with baseball, though, is pace of play.
“Pace of play is vitally important on many fronts, mainly with the entertainment product that’s out there for younger viewers,” he said. “And not just because, ‘Oh, these millennials have no attention span.’ No, how was the game played in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s? They played it in two hours, two-and-a-half hours. It was crisp. It moved along. Guys got in the box and they stayed there and you knew as a viewer, ‘Okay, I’m at least going to get some sustained action now.’ I know it’s not the fastest sport in the world, it’s not a spectacle, but it happens when a guy steps in the box. I think we need to get back to that – not the length of the game, but the pace of the game.”