Six rule changes baseball should consider that would make the game better.
Baseball fans value tradition more then any other sports fans. Because of this, rule changes always bring about a great deal of consternation for a large segment of major league baseball’s fan base.
Baseball fans need to realize that the game can not remain stagnant. While baseball is a great game, fans need to realize that it is not perfect. The game needs to evolve to thrive.
The following are six rule changes that baseball should implement in order to improve the game and make it more enjoyable for its fans.
1. Baseball should eliminate the intentional walk
There is nothing worse then going to a game and watching Barry Bonds walked intentionally in all four of his at bats. Baseball may be the only sport where an action and result can be completely taken out of the participating athlete’s hands. I have no problem with a pitcher choosing to pitch around a hitter. But wouldn’t it be better if a catcher had to remain behind the plate? At least then there is a chance for some action. Maybe the pitcher is not quite careful enough and the batter actually gets to hit. Maybe the pitcher unleashes a wild pitch. At worst, the results are the same as an intentional walk. What is the downside of eliminating the intentional walk as we know it from the game?
2. Pitching changes should be limited
Nothing slows the pace of a game like the manager trotting out to make multiple pitching changes per inning. One solution, which I believe was suggested by Bill James, is that a reliever should only be allowed to be removed after he has given up one run.
3. League rules should be unified on the DH
Have the DH or don’t. It does not really matter to me. But as it stands now, American league teams have a distinct advantage in the World Series. American league teams can, in effect, offer a starting role and commensurate pay to a player that National League teams can not. When the World Series arrives National League teams are forced to turn to a bench player which gives their lineup a distinct disadvantage. Meanwhile, the American League does not have a disadvantage when pitchers hit. It seems common sense that all teams should be under the same rules.
4. Home field advantage for the World Series should be determined by record
Home field should not be determined by an exhibition game that has almost nothing to do with the two teams that will be playing in the game. The entire idea is ridiculous. Not that the old system of alternating home field advantage between the American and National leagues was much better. The only logical method is to have home field determined on the field. The team that finishes with the best record has earned the right to have home field advantage.
5. A batter should not be allowed to call time and step out of the batter box
I honestly believe this would have a drastic effect on the length and pace of games. While disrupting a pitcher’s timing is solid strategy, it has a negative effect on the pace of the game. An umpire should call time only under extreme circumstances and not at a hitter’s whim. A batter should fully expect that once he is in the batters box, he is there until he reaches base or is out.
6. A pitcher should be limited in the number of times he can throw over to keep a runner close
Anyone who has ever been to a game has heard the fans voice their displeasure a pitcher who keeps throwing over to a base repeatedly. It is an effective tactic, but it is not fun to watch. If reducing the number of throws to a base resulted in an increase in stolen bases, so be it. In fact, more stolen bases might make the game more exciting. A rule could be implemented giving a pitcher only a certain number of unsuccessful pickoff attempts. If the pitcher exceeds that number the batter would be awarded a ball.