Like many kids growing up in the late 80’s / early 90’s, the first sporting event my parents ever brought me to was a baseball game. Yankee Stadium, OLD Yankee Stadium to be exact, was not a packed house that day, but of course I didn’t care. The Yankees were not playoff contenders during those days, but as a kid I was more excited about popcorn, ice cream and soda than watching a baseball game anyway. Regardless, that game introduced me to the world of baseball, and I’ve never looked back in terms of my love and appreciation for the sport since then.
Nowadays, I’m not so sure the family baseball game is the first sporting event on the menu for a growing kid. If given the choice between going to a baseball game or football game, there’s no doubt my 5 year old would choose football. And, that’s sort of sad, but expected. When you watch a college or NFL football game, especially nowadays with all the rule changes increasing scoring at a furious pace, there’s just so much excitement a kid doesn’t even need to understand what’s going on to get into watching the actual game play.
Compared to current day baseball: with it’s long overdue needs to be eradicated National League DH, defensive shifts and the never ending relief pitcher juggling act through the duration of almost every game that isn’t a blowout, football just has baseball beat, and beat bad.
Major League Baseball knows this. And, finally they have compiled a list of possible rule changes to help bring the game into the 21st century, much like the NFL and NBA have already been successful doing. Baseball is and always will be the American past time, and on one side of the fence I can see where the purists come from when MLB starts talking about major rule changes that will abruptly change the foundation of the sport.
But, if baseball doesn’t act now, the purists from older generations will start to diminish, new generations will continue to shun baseball for being too slow and boring, and eventually the sport will become a shell of it’s former self and even possibly go into such a spiral that it ceases to exist, at least on the major stage with big time money and sponsorships.
While that is the ultimate pessimistic view, there is no doubt MLB must incorporate some rule changes to bring some buzz back to the sport and excitement back on the field.
Here’s my take on which of the new proposed rule changes make sense and which do not.
#1 – Universal Designated Hitter
It’s time. Nobody wants to see pitchers hit.
#2 – Single Trade Deadline before All-Star Break
MLB needs a ton more buzz around their off-court player movement activity and this rule change would help. Losing the winter meetings would not be a bad move either. Tobias Harris being traded from the Clippers to the Sixers is creating more buzz than where two of baseball’s megastars are going to land in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. MLB needs to take some lessons from the NBA.
#3 – A 20 Second Pitch Clock
I could have easily put this one on the “Doesn’t Make Sense” list but do think this will help speed up the game in the long run despite having to get used to a clock winding in baseball.
Doesn’t Make Sense
#1 – 3 Batter Minimum for Pitchers
I am vehemently opposed to this change as it is like an uppercut to the core values and history of the game compared the above 3 that are like jabs. So, you’re telling me if I’m a manager and I bring a guy in, and he clearly doesn’t have his A or even B stuff, I am forced to keep him in the game for another 2 batters? Well, that rule change just decided the game. It’s too extreme.
#2 – Draft Advantages for Winning Teams / Penalties for Losing Teams
Is it me or does this just make the strong stronger (e.g. – Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers) and the small markets with virtually no chance to even nail a solid few drafts in a row and put together a scrappy team of up and comers with “on the down side but not yet out of prime” veterans?
Matt Kendelski is the founder of CrushSportsBetting.com and creator of Bet Wizard, a do-it-yourself sports betting analytics and automation tool.