3 Things Baseball Needs To Change And Change Now
I've loved baseball ever since I can remember.
I grew up on a small farm in southwest Minnesota and the Minnesota Twins were pretty new back then. They'd moved 'up north' from Washington, D.C. and became the Twins.
By the time I was 10 years old they were in the World Series! Yes, they lost in seven to the dreaded Dodgers, but they had played in a World Series. Looking back, I think that every 10-year-old should have their favorite team play in a World Series. The memory never dies.
A favorite Twin? Of course, and it was this guy who was my boyhood sports hero.
These days I'm in the sports fan minority when I say I love baseball best. It ranks somewhere behind the NFL, college football, college basketball, the NBA and who knows what else. Why? Probably a number of reasons, but what I here most often is younger people don't care for it because it's too slow. Which, of course, is one of the reasons I love it. But, I get it. It's not wall-to-wall action.
There are 3 things in particular I think major league baseball needs to change and needs to change as soon as they can. I'm not sure it will attract new fans by the millions, but I do think it will help the game. There's been changes to the game through the years and decades, many of them good. But let's change these 3 things:
1) Drop this 'runner on second to begin extra innings'. It's a gimmick. Plain and simple, it's a gimmick. When they put this into effect last season, the first thing I thought of was the XFL or WWE. So a major league baseball game can end on a lead off single? Huh? I know MLB want's to shorten games, but not this. Even beginning an extra inning with a runner on first is gimmicky, but at least it's less gimmicky. Better yet, let 'em play like they played in the third inning, the fourth, the fifth.
2) Make the shifts illegal. Get rid of them. Now. I hear all the time 'there's not enough action, there's not enough action, there's not enough action'. Major League baseball has become home run, strikeout, walk. With each of those 3 things, there's no action on the field of play. Players stand there and stand there and stand there. And with these analytic shifts, when there is a single to right, well...there's no single to right. It's a ground out to the second baseman who's in right field. No runner, no action. And yes, I know analytics say to shift. Take away the hit. You're making a game with not enough action have less action. turning it into robotic baseball. How about a radical rule like this: There must be two infielders on each side of second base. That's all.
and 3) This is more of a suggestion. Let a guy who's pitching a no-hitter pitch a no-hitter. I know, I know, this is old school. But the old school guy in me says, if you're pitching no-hit ball through 6 innings, go out there and see if you can do one of the toughest things in baseball! Oh, and if you're pitching 6 no-hit innings AND have struck out 12 batters, wow! We've got some history brewing here! But, no we don't...out the pitcher comes because...I don't know. He's thrown too many pitches? Analytics requires it? Whatever. I sure would have loved to see a manager decide to take Jack Morris or Nolan Ryan or Bob Gibson out. You want action? That would have been action of a whole 'nother sort.
So there you have it. Get that done by this coming weekend and we're good to go. And your welcome.
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