PoliticsFriday 04.01.22

MLB Is Changing Baseball… For The Better?

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The owners and players that make Major League Baseball reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement earlier this month — and as part of it, the sport will finally change a few rules to boost game action. In recent years, games have slowed dramatically — with more dead time than ever — and the number of balls in play slumped as well.

The changes on the horizon are expected to be the most consequential in decades. As MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters in announcing the deal, the terms of the agreement includes some notable rule changes, like the designated hitter coming to the National League (catching up to the American League, which adopted the rule back in 1973) and bringing back the “ghost runner” that starts on second base in extra innings.

By next year, after some experimentation by the league, fans will also likely see larger bases to encourage more base-stealing, a pitch clock to keep games moving, and the limiting of defensive positional shifts to make hits easier to come by.

Hardcore baseball fans may decry many of these changes, because they love the established ways of baseball, largely constant over the decades. Historically, baseball has been far more reluctant to challenge its long-held ways compared to the NBA and the NFL, which continuously allowed for change to burnish entertainment value. But LZ and Will debate whether it’s time to forget about the past, cater to the tastes of today’s entertainment audiences, and bury the game’s purists.

The Long Game