I’m very casual when it comes to baseball nowadays. I’m a Cubs fan, I used to watch all the games, but I just couldn’t sustain a consistent passion for it. I still keep myself updated in terms of moves the team makes and their position in the standings and all that but I just can’t stay invested in the action, day to day. Part of that is probably because I just don’t find baseball as a sport all that interesting. The games are too long and the 162 game schedule is daunting, to say the least. The MLB can be fixed, and here are some ways I think they can do it, some being smaller ways and some being larger.
First off, this one has to do with pitchers. I propose to put a 15-second time limit on pitchers from the time the pitcher receives the ball back from the catcher to the time he gets on the rubber on the pitcher’s mound. Not all, but some pitchers (mostly relief pitchers) take way too long after receiving the ball to make the next pitch. Some pitchers will catch the ball, walk around the mound, take their glove off, rub the ball up, grab the rosin bag, adjust their hats, take three deep breaths, and then, finally, they are ready to take the sign from the catcher.
Fifteen seconds is more than enough time to be ready to throw the next pitch. If the pitcher is not toeing the rubber within 15 seconds of receiving the baseball, the count (number of balls and strikes) on the batter will automatically get a ball added to it. For example, The first pitch of the at-bat is taken for a strike, making the count 0 balls and 1 strike. The catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher. If the pitcher is not on the mound/rubber within 15 seconds, the count automatically gets a “ball” added to it, making the count 1-1. This rule would absolutely speed up the game, especially in the later innings when relief pitchers are inserted into the game.
Pitchers can hit too 😤
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 31, 2021
My second proposed rule is that if a batter does not swing at a pitch, he is not allowed to step out of the batter’s box. Or, if the batter does decide to step out of the batter’s box after swinging at a pitch, the pitcher does not have to wait for the batter to return to the box to make the next pitch. Some players, after taking a pitch, take a long time getting regrouped. They will readjust both batting gloves, take a few practice swings—how do I say this non-graphically? uhmm…”adjust themselves” —and look at their bat before stepping back into the batter’s box. And the pitcher has to wait on the batter before he can throw the pitch.
Not with this rule enacted. If the pitcher is ready to throw the ball and the batter is not ready, TOUGH! Throw the ball! Let’s get this game moving! Of course, the batter can still request the umpire for “time” at any point, just like the current rule states. After a batter swings (whether he misses, fouls the ball off, or puts the ball in play), the batter is allowed to step out of the batter’s box, and the pitcher has to wait for the batter to get in the box before making a pitch; unless the umpire thinks the batter is taking too long and allows the pitcher to pitch the ball (that last part is already part of MLB rules.) This rule, along with my first proposed rule of limiting the pitcher to be on the mound within 15 seconds of receiving the ball, should definitely speed the game up.
PETA wants the MLB to use the term "arm barn" to describe the area where pitchers warm up instead of "bull pen," which it says mocks the misery of animals and devalues players.https://t.co/xprXmQsqOP
— NPR (@NPR) October 29, 2021
Next. DH or no DH for Both Leagues. This is the one thing that I care the least about, but I do think that both leagues should play under the same rules. Either have both leagues implement the designated hitter or have the pitchers bat in both leagues. I can understand the arguments on both sides: In the National League, where there is no DH and the pitcher bats, there is more strategy involved with pinch hitters, pitching changes, double switches, etc. At the same time, with the American League and the DH, there are no “breaks” in the lineup since the pitcher does not bat. All of the other professional sports leagues’ different conferences operate under the same rules. The NFL doesn’t allow 13 players to play defense in the NFC, and only 12 players play defense in the AFC; both leagues play under the same rules. Baseball should be the same way.
Take the Human Element Out of Calling Balls and Strikes. You might find this controversial, just saying. This is one of my biggest problems with baseball: The strike zone and how it differs from umpire to umpire. This might sound like a dumb question, but shouldn’t a pitch be called a strike if it is in the strike zone? And shouldn’t a pitch be called a ball if it is outside the strike zone? I’ll answer for you: Yes. That is how it should be. But it isn’t always true. Umpires have different views of what is a strike and what is a ball. You hear it on broadcasts all the time: “Well, the home plate umpire is giving the pitcher that low strike” or “The umpire is giving that outside corner today.” Shouldn’t the strike zone be the same every day? Why would a pitch thrown on Monday be called a strike while the same exact pitch on Wednesday is called a ball? Just because there is a different umpire that day? That does not make any sense to me. If there is the technology to accurately distinguish a ball from a strike every time (Spoiler: There is!), why not use it? A pitch inside the strike zone is a strike.
— jose l. martinez (@polomtz1971) November 12, 2021
A pitch outside the strike zone is a ball. Simple! This would also stop a lot of arguments (and some ejections) between managers/pitchers/catchers and umpires. I am not saying that home plate umpires are bad at calling strikes. It is a hard job, and they get the call right the vast majority of the time. Umpires make mistakes because they are human. That’s okay. But if baseball can take missed calls out of the game, wouldn’t it be logical to do so? I am also not saying there shouldn’t be home plate umpires at all: there is still the need to call balks, call fair and foul balls, etc. but the MLB should allow the technology to accurately call balls and strikes accurately 100% of the time.