One of the pleasures of being a major league baseball follower has always been the opportunities that the former national pastime provides for witnessing genius, or geniuses, at work. Today offers us all another such time as, at long last, more rules changes have been officially announced and they will take effect at the start of the 2023 season, which cannot come too soon. Theo Epstein, who oversaw the rise and fall of two separate franchises, said that, “The influx of data in our industry have not improved the game from an aesthetic standpoint or from an entertainment standpoint.” I think I know what he was trying to say, but anyone who refers to “influx of data” or “our industry” or “aesthetic standpoint” should probably be watched very closely. If I was in a room that he entered, I’d check for my wallet. He did refer to a game, though. Okay, so what do we have here? Bigger bases for one, but not home plate. I suspect the idea here is that, once they begin painting advertising signs on the bases for Draft Kings or Fan Duel or some other venue for blowing the rent money they will be easier to read.
You will notice that none of the new rules will have anything to do with competitive equity. It would help fan interest a lot, I would think, if teams that outspend others by three or four times were forced to play without shoes, but that was probably not considered.
The pitch clock saves time. They proved that in the minor leagues. So we will have another thing to keep track of while all those commercial distractions jump across our screens (I checked and only 13 per cent of baseball anarchy readers can actually afford to attend a game in person) along with mound visits and where the fielders actually are standing. We could also save a lot of time if we did away with pseudo-patriotic anthems and replay reviews but let’s not get treasonous.
Defensive shifts are to be strictly modified but not entirely banned. It would be better for batters to learn more about hitting but that might get tedious. So we, the fans, will be asked to put up with all this because they claim we want more action and less down time spent thinking and stuff. To be able to watch Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper, Lars Nootbar, and Mike Trout do their thing comes not without a price.
Why, I ask, stop there? We could do so much more. Here are some great suggestions, although they were not produced by any committee:
1)Any team holding a 6 run lead only gets two outs in their batting half per inning as long as that lead persists
2) Any team holding a lead of 9 runs or more loses its center fielder until order is restored
3)Every other foul ball struck on a 3-2 count is a strikeout
4)Any player, manager, or coach wearing a microphone is ejected from the game. A second offense would result in a 10 game suspension. This rule would not save time, but I like it anyway.
5)All replay reviews are ended. Arguments seldom take longer and are more entertaining.
I would add another but I realize that the plutocrats and gangsters are running the show. That would be replace Manfred Mann with Bob Costas. Play ball!