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Article: Possible MLB Rule Changes: Universal DH? Roster size? Anti-tanking?

rob manfred
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#41 caninatl04

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:53 AM

a one-time-per-at-bat limit for adjusting batting gloves. do it a second time and you're outta the game.


This for me is the big one. Stop granting "time" to the better between each and every freaking pitch. Only grant "time" after the third and fifth pitches, for example.

#42 AceWrigley

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:55 AM

I hate the freakin' DH. Dump it completely. Replace it in both leagues with the FREE HITTER. Pitchers bat, and a team gets one free pinch hit at bat per game (announced as the Free Hitter). The player who was pinch hit for stays in the lineup, and the free hitter returns to the bench to possibly be used in the game later.


#43 IndianaTwin

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:59 AM

DH: It seems weird to have two different rules, but there's something unique (and quirky, in a good sense) about having to manage and play in different styles. If they maintain the current difference, I do wish they would flip-flop the pattern, however. Use AL rules in the NL park and vice versa. That would give NL fans the chance to see the Edgar Martinezes and Nelson Cruzes of the world and give AL fans the chance to see the supposed intricacies of the NL game. 

 

Pitch clock: From what I've heard at the minor league level, this seems to have worked with comparably little effort. It would be interesting to see the breakdowns of guys who have pitched in the minors since that rule started. Have they continued to pitch more quickly when they get to the majors, or do they revert to prior patterns? But I'm for this rule change. 

 

Mound visits: Having six didn't seem to mess with the game much. If the desire was to shorten things, the next logical step is to try five, it seems. 

 

Roster size: Currently, it seems like the dilemma in roster construction, at least for AL teams, is whether to go with 12 or 13 pitchers. With a change, my hunch is that in the short term, most teams would settle on a 13/13 balance. Who knows how the game will change over time, however. For September, I get the arguments. It's nice to give guys opportunity for September callups, but making big changes to the roster during the pennant race doesn't seem right, either. I have a friend who's a AAAA player, and it's clearly been a reward for him to get a couple September call-ups based on a job well done. 

 

Anti-tanking: Uh, there's always going to be a way to try beating the system, and I'm not sure what they can do. 

 

Three-batter minimum: One of the things I worry about with significant changes are the unintended consequences. The 10-day DL, for example, was designed to let teams put guys on the DL a little more easily with minor injuries, but it's turned into a tool for roster manipulation. On the surface, a three-batter minimum might make some sense, but who knows how it would play out in actuality. And unfortunately, there's not a good way to test it, since the minor leagues seem to rarely do one-batter outings. 


#44 Vanimal46

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:11 PM

While it might seem that way, it's not so. Pitching changes are not responsible for the bulk of slowdowns or increased game length. It's simply extra idle time between pitches that is adding up:

https://www.sbnation...iew/game-length

Edit to add: one can still be opposed to pitching changes and modern SP/RP usage, of course, on aesthetic grounds. But it's not really a primary driver of pace or game length issues.

I concur that is the problem, idle time between pitches... Remember when John Lackey took 6 minutes to throw 6 pitches?

https://deadspin.com...jail-1819503434

Edited by Vanimal46, 06 February 2019 - 12:12 PM.

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#45 Minny505

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:29 PM

I've always had what I think is a fun idea for the DH. Rather than have one DH for the game, have the DH spot be a unique pinch hitter role.

 

What I mean is that the DH spot in the lineup is really a pinch hitter spot in the lineup that can be filled by any player who is eligible to enter the game. When batting as the DH with this rule their eligibility to DH is used. That player can still enter the game at any point as any non-starter under the current rules, meaning they could potentially pinch hit twice.

 

This means that pretty much every bench player takes at least one at bat each game. Double switches are still a thing so if you want to have your glove first OF hit in the 7th inning with two outs and nobody on, you can then move the DH spot to the six spot in the lineup from the ninth spot, replacing the Jay Bruce's of the lineup.

 

The few good hitting pitchers in the league can still take an AB on their off day if the manager would like to save their best bats for lead off or RBI situations.

 

Once in extra innings, DH eligibility is reset for any players still eligible to enter the game never expires. This protects from being forced to have pitchers ever bat.

 

It's probably a terrible idea in practice, but seems like a nice blend of current DH rules and the "strategy" of having pitchers bat, which is really more a of a strategy of how to use pinch hitters effectively when you strip away the facade of pitchers actually hitting.


#46 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:39 PM

The pace of play is the main issue. Time between action. Fix that, and the length will also drop.....

What if a RP just didn't have it? Leanne him in for another batter or two? That just makes no sense to me at all. It's like making zone defense illegal. Or the shift illegal. In game action isn't the issue here....
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#47 Sam Morley

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:13 PM

First, I don't think the pace of play is a problem. Were it, I don't think any of the proposed rule changes will affect the pace of play enough to address the "problem". Shortening the overall game length by five or so minutes will not make the game any more appealling to people who already think that baseball is boring. They will not notice any difference.

 

A diffinitive characteristic of baseball, in contrast to other team sports, is that there is not clock or timer. While all of the other major team sports rely on a clock as a necessary part of the structure that makes their sport possible, baseball was uniquely designed and created to not need one. Keep clocks out of baseball.

 

It seems like the roster expansion runs in conflict with the aims of quickening pace and shortening game length. In particular, if there were a three batter minimum, it reasons that fewer pitchers will be used per game. It seems like an additional player available will increase the amount of pitching changes per game, therefor lengthening the duration of games.

 

I think, pace aside, the three batter minimum rule could encourage managers to return to relying on starters in a more traditional way, asking them to pitch deeper into games than has been the recent trend. It seems like often when a manager goes to an early hook (in anticipation of damage, not as a result of) they often bring in a one out specialist. I don't really like the trend away from reliance on starting pitching. I think that starters are the best pitchers, and I want to see them pitch. I want to see what they are made of when the going gets tough.

 

As for the DH in the NL... who cares. The NL is Mars. Let them be Martians, and when on Mars, do as the Martians do. 


#48 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:13 PM

I'm for the pitch clock.

 

Universal DH needs to happen.There are only emotional arguments for having pitchers bat (like, "that's how it's always been", "I like it better") whereas it's an objective fact that having pitchers hit leads to terribly unathletic/non-competitive moments in games.Any arguments about "strategy" really boil down to one thing - in the NL, you try really hard not to have those moments happen.All you're strategically doing is avoiding the thing you say you want to keep around - pitchers hitting.

 

So just do away with it.AL managers still use the hit and run and (too often) the bunt.They just use those strategies in an effort to score runs rather than desperately avoid some hack with a .150 batting average.

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#49 baumannmd

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:18 PM

Anti-Tanking - Of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, the team with the best record gets first overall pick. Descend through the picks until you get to the worst-record team. The remaining picks in the first round are awarded to the playoff teams in the same order as today. Dissuades tanking. Helps fringe teams get over the hump.

26 man roster - Yes. But limit pitchers to 13

Universal DH - I don’t follow any NL teams closely, so I don’t really care. I kind of like the current system for nostalgia, but I’ve got no dog in this fight.

Pace of Play - No warmup pitches on the mound for replacement pitchers. And, when a pitcher is replaced mid-inning, any television commercials should be aired in a split screen with the game. The biggest slow down in the game today are bullpenning and commercial breaks in combination. This helps speed up both.

Mound Visits - Such a non-factor. Even a long mound visit adds, what? 35 seconds to a game? Challenges and Reviews take longer and those were just introduced a few seasons ago.

Baseball is such a great game as is and if I had it my way, I wouldn’t change much, if anything. But I understand the incentive to make the game more appealing to younger audiences. I think what the league has done to stop discouraging bat flips and celebrations, and hire new, younger announcers who embrace new analytics and statcast overlays do a lot more to engage new audiences than reducing mound visits or pitching changes will.

If they really wanted to get new, younger audiences, they’d make it easier for fans to watch games outside of typical cable TV packages. As soon as they can figure out how to make the same or more money doing that as they do with Comcast deals, the younger fans will come. No one under the age of 30 uses regular broadcast television as their main source of entertainment anymore. That’s where the league needs to evolve. I should be able to watch my hometown team on any device I choose, anywhere I choose, at any time I choose.

I’m personally not afraid of Baseball going away because of younger audiences. I am a little concerned about what the current commissioner and leadership could do to destroy the game in the hopes of saving it, though.
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#50 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:21 PM

 

If they really wanted to get new, younger audiences, they’d make it easier for fans to watch games outside of typical cable TV packages. As soon as they can figure out how to make the same or more money doing that as they do with Comcast deals, the younger fans will come. No one under the age of 30 uses regular broadcast television as their main source of entertainment anymore. That’s where the league needs to evolve. I should be able to watch my hometown team on any device I choose, anywhere I choose, at any time I choose.

 

It doesn't solve all your problems, but reddit streams are a beautiful way to say "screw you" to sports leagues and get to watch your favorite teams.

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#51 bighat

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:26 PM

 

I don't like the 3-batter minimum. Too arbitrary, and too many unintended consequences would arise. Don't take more strategy out of the game, nor add incentives for subterfuge ("hey Meat, tell the ump, your shoulder hurts").

 

Agreed, the 3-batter rule is horrible and would just erode the game further. Think about it - playoffs, bottom of the 8th inning, you've got Taylor Rodgers coming in to face Bryce Harper. The best lefty against the best lefty. One huge at bat, one big moment for the game. Fans like me really enjoy that stuff, and I think most people who are fans of the game would agree.

 

The problem with most of the rule changes seem to be aiming to do 2 things:

 

1. Speed up the game

2. Make the game enjoyable for "non-baseball fans"

 

Meanwhile, they completely alienate the baseball fans that do currently exist. What's next? Should we have fans vote live for "Swing" or "Take"? Hook up an x-box to the pitcher's mound and allow fans to decide of he throws a curve or a fastball? Maybe we should just have American Idol judges choose the teams? Or maybe give the kid with the most instagram followers a spot on the roster?

 

It's like they are just pandering to the lowest-common denominator. The All-Star Game Fan Vote is already one of the worst and most bush league pieces of garbage in existence. Stop changing the game because some 22 year-old social media aggregator tells you to, and have faith in the sport you oversee, Mr. Manfred.

 

 

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#52 Dman

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:33 PM

 

I'm for the pitch clock.

 

Universal DH needs to happen.There are only emotional arguments for having pitchers bat (like, "that's how it's always been", "I like it better") whereas it's an objective fact that having pitchers hit leads to terribly unathletic/non-competitive moments in games.Any arguments about "strategy" really boil down to one thing - in the NL, you try really hard not to have those moments happen.All you're strategically doing is avoiding the thing you say you want to keep around - pitchers hitting.

 

So just do away with it.AL managers still use the hit and run and (too often) the bunt.They just use those strategies in an effort to score runs rather than desperately avoid some hack with a .150 batting average.

 

 I am totally with you.Everyone wants to see mighty Casey bat whether he hits a home run or strikes out. The raw emotion of that moment, the suspense, the glimmer of hope, beats a pitcher coming to bat.Yeah, yeah strategy and all that is fine for the mind-numbing numbers people but for shear excitement take the DH.

 

Mighty Casey


#53 Thrylos

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:08 PM

I know that the players would like to impose penalties to teams with a bad record, but I suspect that the league would counter with hard salary caps and floors, and they will not like it a bit.  

Those things have to go together.

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#54 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:27 PM

 

First, I don't think the pace of play is a problem. Were it, I don't think any of the proposed rule changes will affect the pace of play enough to address the "problem". Shortening the overall game length by five or so minutes will not make the game any more appealling to people who already think that baseball is boring. They will not notice any difference.

Pace isn't just a problem of game length. It's also about too frequent periods of inaction. Baseball has always been a languid summer's pastime, but it hasn't always had every pitcher and batter milking 30+ seconds between every pitch all season long. It can still be the languid summer pastime even if we curb players of that excess.

 

That time between pitches can add up to a lot more than 5 minutes per game. I know I've linked this a few times already, but seriously it should be required reading on the subject:

 

https://www.sbnation...iew/game-length

 

And it's not just about appealing to fans who find the current game boring. I love baseball -- but I would absolutely go to more games, and watch more games on TV, if games were a half hour shorter on average but packed in the same amount of action. (And even more time than that could be shaved off postseason games.)

 

If you're wondering why, note that I like to bring along my small kids when I go to a game, and I'm more likely to do that if it's easier to keep them engaged in what's happening on the field, and I'm less likely to egregiously break their bedtime. Similar concerns when I try to watch games on TV with some elderly relatives. Also for postseason viewing parties -- it's a bit hard to convince guests to come to my house for 4+ hours on a weeknight, when they don't even have to do that for football games.

Edited by spycake, 06 February 2019 - 02:51 PM.

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#55 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:50 PM

 

A diffinitive characteristic of baseball, in contrast to other team sports, is that there is not clock or timer. While all of the other major team sports rely on a clock as a necessary part of the structure that makes their sport possible, baseball was uniquely designed and created to not need one. Keep clocks out of baseball.

But there is a clock in baseball -- we just don't see it. The game could go on forever, but batters, pitchers, and coaches have never been allowed to take infinite time to perform their tasks within the game.

 

This clock is technically already in the rule book, but it's left to umpire discretion -- which has proven to be extremely ineffective. And I don't blame umpires -- the pace of the players has been slowing gradually, and umpires have enough on their plate without suddenly having to hassle every player between every pitch too.

 

If it was up to me, I'd put a clock on each dugout rail, visible to pitcher, batter, catcher, and umpire, but out of view from TV cameras and most fans. A ball or strike would be automatically assessed for a clock violation, and players will soon be trained to perform within the normal pace of the game, as defined by the first 100+ years of MLB history and every other level of competition in the sport -- minors, college, high school, etc. There's nothing natural or traditional about the pace of players in modern MLB.

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#56 adjacent

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:01 PM

Want to end tanking? Put relegation, like in Premier league in soccer. Worst team is out of MLB. (Can play in a lesser league). A variation could be the worst team of the last three years, or something like that. I know owners would never agree to that, but it is a sure way to end the tanking.

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#57 FlauerPauer

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:06 PM

Universal DH - No - I actually enjoy watching the Twins pitchers hit during inter-league play.

 

26th Man - Yup - Maybe even make it 27.Definitely not interested in the 28 roster for September.

 

Pitch clock - Yup - What happens when a pitcher is close to the end of the clock and steps off to get a new pitch clock? 

 

Mound Visits - No - Eventually only three mound visits? What's stopping the pitcher from stepping off the mound and walking to the foul line and talking with the coach?

 

Three Batter Minimum - No - I think the matchups are intriguing.That's what makes baseball special.

 

Anti-Tanking - No - If teams want to tank, let them. At the end of the day, fans will stop showing up and that ends up hurting the owners pockets. I don't even know how you'd quantify "tanking".I mean the Royals were absolutely terrible during the mid 2000's and I don't think they were losing on purpose; they just had terrible players outside of Mike Sweeney. Their player development was poor and thus they didn't bring high level talent to the MLB club.

 

I'd like to see MLB institute a minimum payroll. There should be no reason that owners are allowed to pocket the revenue sharing money and not invest that into their team.If you can't afford to spend $65 million on your baseball team, you don't deserve to have one, lol


#58 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:10 PM

 

If they really wanted to get new, younger audiences, they’d make it easier for fans to watch games outside of typical cable TV packages. As soon as they can figure out how to make the same or more money doing that as they do with Comcast deals, the younger fans will come. No one under the age of 30 uses regular broadcast television as their main source of entertainment anymore. That’s where the league needs to evolve. I should be able to watch my hometown team on any device I choose, anywhere I choose, at any time I choose.

That's already pretty easy for most fans of the Twins (and other teams on Fox regional networks). Sling includes Fox Sports North for $25 a month. That's only $150 for the whole season, with no contract -- so fans can sign up late or drop early and save even more money if they like. Sling is available on most devices, but you can also use your Sling credentials to log in to the Fox Sports Go app on virtually every platform.

 

Yes, it would be easier if they simply charged $270 for MLB.TV with no blackouts. But most Twins fans can achieve the equivalent of that already with Sling (or save $120 if they don't need the out-of-market games). A problem is still around the edges of "Twins Territory" like in Iowa. Sling and other streaming services don't always deliver the user's preferred Fox affiliate in those areas. Would be nice to clean that up.


#59 jkcarew

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:14 PM

Three batter minimum seems ridiculous. But if rosters go to 26, you'll have to do something drastic like that.

 

Don't think for one second that that spot wont go...eventually...to yet another pitcher. That's what the data will tell you to do with it...use as many pitchers per game as the rules will allow, given the roster constraints. Ease the roster constraints...use more pitchers. Ugh! Please no!


#60 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 03:17 PM

 

Pitch clock - Yup - What happens when a pitcher is close to the end of the clock and steps off to get a new pitch clock? 

With no runners on base, I wouldn't allow them to do this. With runners on, I think I'd require a pickoff throw.




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