Baseball is almost like a tradition in the US, but things have been changing rapidly in terms of game rules. From new technology to new strategies, the game is very different now. As the Major League Baseball has started, it is time we look into such changes to be able to follow the game when we watch it.
According to statistics, the new rules will help everyone to stay ahead of the curve. A lot of planning goes behind thinking about the welfare of the players and the league in an overall. We’re just hoping that it gets better for us as audience and there’s no rocket science to crack through.
How to accept the current changes in baseball
The following points not only take you through the changes of the game but also how it will affect the players:
1. Rules and regulations
Changes are always for the better, but it has its share of disadvantages too. Since baseball has been played like a religion for decades in the US, the changes are getting a lot of mixed reactions.
The changes tend to happen at the margins. For example, basketball incorporated the 3-point line and shot clock. Years from now, the NCAA Tournament games streaming on YouTube can look way different from how it is now.
If you go decades back to understand baseball better, you’d still find the basic battle between the hitter and pitcher. The fielders also had the same place back then, so the game was pretty straight.
Currently, under the power of Commissioner Rob Manfred, anything can alter at any time. Recently, the MLB and player’s union signed a deal that included changes that will imply from 2020.
- One of the basic changes is that when the pitcher enters the game, he’d have to face at least three batters or stay right till the end of the half-inning.
- The commissioner’s office decided to not implement the pitch clocks before the 2022 season. However, the joint management-union committee will try out possible changes for the strike zone. They will also explore new methods with regard to the height of and the distance from the mound.
- The DH was used in AL since 1973 but not NL. This is another change that we might possibly find now.
- During the independent Atlantic League, desktops will be in use for ball/strike calls. It is going to start towards the end of April, and that’ll extend the distance between the mound and home plate by about 2 feet. It is likely to start from the second half of the season and there will be limits for infield shifts as well.
2. Wild card
The 90s were a peak decade for baseball and within a few years, it realigned the divisions. There was an addition of wild cards that teams could use for the interleague games during regular seasons.
The current system can send a shock to most teams but might work out to be well for the league. These changes are different from rule changes but can twist the final results of the league completely.
The wild card will not change the way you look at the game on the field. Yet there are more changes that will alter the game as you know it to be till now.
3, Instant review calls
There have been new additions in the rule book to address collisions with catchers and also infielders turning a double play. This sport now incorporates immediate replay for taking a review call and limits the number of visits to the mound.
4. Pitch clock
The union was never a fan of three-batter for the pitchers and the concept of a pitch clock meets resistance. Minor leagues incorporate pitch clocks and Clay Buchholz, the right-hander of Toronto, said that he had found it useful.
Baseball usually insists that pitchers slow down when the game starts speeding up. However, it isn’t allowed during minor leagues. Buchholz brought this up during the big league repertoire and kept this move as a backup, and it helped. However, he doesn’t see the pitch clock being brought to the majors.
5. Defensive alignment
There is a change in the defensive alignment and the pitcher-batter pendulum will now swing towards high strikeout totals. There are more players to throw harder. They might come out of A-ball to get mid-to-upper 90s.
6. Pitch perfect
Players are aware of the idea that pitchers aren’t very effective when facing the batting order for the third time. In the previous year, Tampa Bay was seen to use an ‘opener’ who started the game to pitch an inning or two and faced tough spots. After that, another pitcher, probably a traditional starter came in and took over.
What players have to say about rule changes
As the teams strive for an edge and are pushing their limits to innovate, the decision makers continue to evaluate how to make the game more relevant and entertaining. Such changes might be constant and can make a lot of difference, years down the line.
Most players agree to the fact that the changes have been done for the game and the audience. People now want more action, so there are some adjustments that they expect too. Moreover, there has to be a space for generational fans so that change will keep coming.
Most players need to change their strategy and practice more often to cope up with these changes. On one end, they will always be on their toes, on the other end these changes can risk their victories.
The new look of the game has drastically changed. The revolution has brought in transformed strategy, technology, and rules for the better. Don Mattingly, the manager of Miami Marlins, said that the game seems to be evolving rather than changing.
As an audience, we will come across a new idea of how baseball is played and teach our kids the same. The gen-next is surely going to have a different experience than what we’ve had so far, and it’s all good till it works out for the better.