Now that the regular season is over, let’s go back and review the major rule changes that were implemented for 2020. We will mow over what I liked and didn’t like, as well as what I want to see stay vs. hit the road when we begin baseball again in 2021. Most I’m on board with, some I hate, and some I love.
The biggest change has been the cut down from a 162 game regular season to just 60 games. The quick and simple answer, it’s not enough. There’s no arguing that it made baseball more entertaining to watch with how much more important this shortened season made every individual game but having the entire baseball season come and go in three months sucks. I think a case could be made to shorten the baseball season in the distant future, but to no less than 120 games if this does happen. Shortening the season wouldn’t get my personal vote however with how much it would change baseball moving forward from that point. Single season stats and accolades for all of baseball, past and present, would have to be separated into two separate conversations, which I think would create way too much controversy year after year.
Verdict is, 60 game season is just for 2020
Universal DH; when I found about it, and when the season first started, I hated the idea of it. As a fan of a National League team, I respected the purity and uniqueness of pitchers having to hit in games. Watching MadBum pimp homers also helps lean one towards wanting to see some of these guys swing the bat. It really didn’t take but a few weeks into the season for me to change my mind. I get it; the time is now. Just because it was fun to watch Bum hit three homeruns a year, I can’t justify taking away so many jobs and at-bats from players who actually deserve to be at the plate. It’s better for baseball to have the DH in both leagues rather than to watch a guy with his eyes closed come up and swing at air.
Verdict is, universal DH stays
Seven inning doubleheaders; with Covid, this rule made a ton of sense for 2020. It seemed like half the games teams such as the Marlins and Cardinals played this year were doubleheaders. To put it into perspective, we saw 36 doubleheaders played in 2020 with the 60 games season. In 2019 with a full slated 162 games season, only 33 doubleheaders were played—great job done by Major League Baseball to implement this rule for 2020.
Verdict is, seven inning double headers is just for 2020
A runner starting on second base to begin extra innings; I liked this one from the start. I’m an absolute lover of baseball and watch the game everyday. However, It’s hard to commit four hours a day to watch a game, so I agree that baseball needs to figure out more ways to speed up the game. I’ve watched plenty of 15, 16, and 17 inning games which, I watch as a fan, but when it gets to that point, I think we can all agree we want it to end. Cutting down on the length of innings in games without sacrificing the normal nine that we’re accustomed to is a good call by Major League Baseball. Let’s continue to be creative and find more ways to cut down on the time of play.
Verdict is, runners starting on second to begin extra innings stays
Three batter minimum; hell yes! I am all about this one. I just touched on the pace of play, which is a huge contributing factor in making that better. Watching three different pitchers get three outs in an inning is a romantic thing about baseball that true fans can respect and enjoy. Stilllllllll, I’ve got kids and don’t always have time for 30 minute half innings. If you want to be a big-league reliever nowadays, you need to get lefties and righties out, bottom line.
Verdict is, three batter minimum stays
The last one we’ll touch on, the expanded playoff format; I absolutely hate it. Even in this shortened season, I was not, and as the playoffs are going on in front of me, I am still not a fan of this. I’ll admit, watching the Marlins of all teams cruise past the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs was pretty cool. Sorry if you’re reading Adam… But this isn’t the NFL, and .500 teams don’t belong in the MLB postseason. I get teams only played 60 games, so it makes more sense, but still not good sense to have a 16 team playoff. In a 162 game season, having mediocre teams making the postseason is a slap in the face to teams that won 100 games in the regular season. As a Giants fan, this format kept me on the edge of my seat till the very last game of the year. So selfishly speaking, since my team isn’t very good, I liked it in that aspect. But as a baseball fan, more than anything, it just isn’t right.
Verdict is, expanded playoffs needs to go and never come back