The 2021 MLB season is off to a great start; however, we have already had our fair share of umpires making huge mistakes. In this article, I want to dive into rule changes that I believe the MLB needs to make; specifically we will look at three rules the MLB needs to add and two rules the MLB needs to reverse.
Baseball has teased the idea of having robotic umpires call plays behind the plate. I have long been in the camp that I believe humans give the game a more organic feel; however, the inconsistency we have seen across the league this year needs to be addressed. Take a look at this blown call and replay by the umpires in the Phillies vs Braves game from last week. The umpires blew what seems like an easy call and then solidified it with a blown replay attempt.
You can always make a case for robotic umpires to call balls and strikes, every umpire calls a game differently; and for me, that is part of the charm. I think robotic umpires will eventually become the norm in the minor leagues; however I am not totally sold on it entering the big leagues.
Teams all across baseball use what is called “the shift” when they know an opposing player hits to specific spots in the field consistently. I don’t mind the shift, but we need to get away from the whole infield on one side of the infield. I think when teams shift the third basemen over to the far side of the infield, it’s like putting a wall up in the infield. Batters need a little bit of help; if teams can put a wall up in the infield it takes the fun out of the game. I think the MLB should limit the shift to sides; specifically, if you play on the left side of the infield (third base and short stop), you have to stay to the left of 2nd base. I think by limiting the ways the defense can shift, it will open hitters up a little bit and create more scoring. The MLB needs to invite more people to get into the game, and when there are consistently low scoring games, it decreases the viewership the game receives.
Universal Designated Hitter
I know that the DH isn’t a universal rule, but the MLB needs to make the DH a universal spot in the league. Pitchers batting in the National League can be exciting, but more often than not they are boring at bats that rarely make an impact on the game. The MLB could save a lot of pinch hit situations by making the the Designated Hitter the league standard; just think about the implications it could have. It was reported earlier this year that Joe Madden (manager of the Anaheim Angels) was considering using his Designated Hitter for a position other than pitcher. If the DH was used, MLB managers would still have the option to let pitchers hit but then use the DH for a infielder who has struggled at the plate or an outfielder who is in a big slump.
Reverse Rule: Bullpen Batter Minimums
In 2020, the MLB introduced a rule that makes pitchers coming from the bullpen face a minimum of three batters before they can be pulled from the game. I have never been in favor of this rule because it takes the role of “specialist” out of the MLB. Relief pitchers in the MLB have to have 3 or 4 pitches that can hit the strike zone consistently; in the old days, you had guys who could only throw a weird knuckle curve or a strange splitter. I think it would be cool to see specialists in the league again. I think an argument could be made that managers don’t always know exactly what each relief pitcher has on a given day and making them face three batters after they lose the first batter is just grueling. The MLB should go back to allowing managers to put in different relief pitchers for specific batters.
Reverse Rule: Mound Visit Limitations
The MLB recently announced that teams would only get to visit the mound to talk with the pitcher five times within a game. I think this is a great rule with the exception to the ninth inning, managers need to be able to work with their pitchers in the final moments of a close game. I am proposing the MLB allow for an additional two mound visits if the game enters the 9th inning with a team leading by two runs or less. I think this offers managers and catchers to communicate more effectively with their pitchers in high stress situation.
What rule do you think the MLB should add or reverse? Comment below or hit us up on Twitter!
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