Angels: Last season’s MLB rule changes gave baseball a different look, and most of the league appears to be in favor of making them permanent.
The 2020 MLB season was different from the others we’ve been accustomed to. The fans were made out of cardboard, and the regular-season was the shortest in over a century. It was a perfect opportunity for the league to experiment with new rule changes, which could be here to stay. Following the announcement of a 162-game season, the answers to other questions should be coming soon.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports Major League Baseball fears the global pandemic could create scheduling issues like it did last season. This has led to a proposal to bring back seven-inning doubleheaders and beginning extra-innings with a runner on second base.
"“Change is abundant now in every walk of life,” Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said last month, “If you don’t embrace it, you get stuck in the mud.”"
I couldn’t agree more with Melvin’s statement, which applies to everything in life. For the sake of this article, we’re going to stick to baseball. This sport will forever be historical, which is part of its beauty, but that doesn’t mean there should be a refusal for change.
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Part of the reason the NFL and NBA have thrived over time is their adaptation, while baseball has stayed put in recent years. I think a lot of it has to do with marketing, but the rules have factored in as well. It’s rare to find kids playing backyard baseball and sitting through a nine-inning game. There are even adults who can’t do it.
The seven-inning doubleheaders will speed up the game while limiting the players’ wear and tear. I’m also a fan of the extra-inning rule. I think it adds an element of suspense, kind of like what goes on in an NFL-overtime. Like football, sometimes defense wins games, and this rule emphasizes the importance of the bullpen in these moments.
Nightengale reports the rule changes are expected to be approved for the 2021 season, but discussions for a universal DH and expanded postseason with 26-man rosters remains ongoing.
An expanded postseason would generate more television-revenue, and consist of a 14-team playoff field. The team with the best record in each league would receive a first-round bye.
As far as the DH position, the players will negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in 2022, which will likely include the rule. If that’s the case, it makes sense to have it for this season as well.
I’ll admit, before last season, I was a bit skeptical about this change. I guess I’m a bit of a traditionalist because I enjoyed the strategy of pitchers hitting for themselves in the National League. Plus, it was an advantage if your pitcher was a good hitter.
That being said, my opinion has completely changed after seeing the rule last season. I think baseball needs this extra offensive element that adds more excitement to the game.
Trust me when I say nobody likes a 1-0 pitcher’s duel more than me, but I feel like the casual fans will say otherwise. This rule adds for more offense, which adds to the entertainment aspect, leading to more viewers, fans, etc.
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The universal DH wouldn’t affect the Angels directly, but it would still have an impact on how players get paid in the future. Regarding other rule changes, the expanded playoffs will make more teams competitive with the believes they have a better chance at winning a World Series.
I think every team should have that mindset regardless, but now the Angels have more of a reason to be in “win now” mode.