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Manfred Tells Baseball Purist to Pound Sand

Baseball purist are having an absolute meltdown right now with some of the new rules that are being implemented into the game in 2020, some of which are probably here to stay. The first rule being added is the long overdue universal DH, which most purist tend to argue that having a DH isn’t “real baseball” since not all the players on the field have to hit. If you play in the field you should have to get your turn at bat is the argument and its a fair one.

We now also have this new runner-on-second extra inning rule or whatever you would like to call it, which sounds like a rule you would make up during a backyard wiffle ball game to try to determine a winner before the sun goes down. An odd rule that longtime baseball fans are not having whatsoever and who can blame them.

I clearly understand everyone’s frustration with these two new rules but I am a glass half full kinda guy so here I go trying to spin these two new rules into a positive. and why I think they could actually be great for the game

A universal DH is something that has been talked about for years in Major League Baseball. Of course watching Big Sexy hit a tater at Petco Park was one of the most beautiful things to watch but having essentially an automatic out in every National League lineup is hard to justify in this day and age.

Going all the way down to high school and even as young as little league we are starting to see more and more kids becoming pitchers only, or at least there parents are making them do this because some washed up college baseball "instructor" told them its the best way for their kid to go D-1 and get a scholarship, but I digress. These young players have no intentions of hitting, they are strictly there to pitch and go home. If players aren't even hitting at the age of 13-14 how can you expect them to square up a fastball from the most gifted pitchers in the world? It's comical to watch and the change unfortunately needed to be made. I wonder if National League teams still send faxes? Let's get with the times boys!

As for the more drastic rule change for the 2020 season, the runner-on-second extra inning rule (some call it the international tiebreaker?) is one that has really raised some eyebrows. It has been used in youth baseball for many years, mostly in weekend tournaments where there are time limits and winners need to be determined in a more timely fashion. Although the rule seems ridiculous on the surface I think it may not be all that bad and here is why.

Starting a runner at second base in extra innings adds a whole new dynamic to the game. Are you going to bunt the guy over and play for one run or are you going to roll the dice and play for a base hit and hopefully start a rally? The strategic element to the game from a managerial perspective, that the DH takes away from the game, this rule puts back in. It will be exciting to see how teams approach this situation and I think It will be something that changes throughout the course of the year.

Also, who the heck wants to watch a 16 inning game in mid July where a position player tries to close it out? Nobody, nobody is the answer. Not to mention if you have tickets to the next days game the bullpen is going to be absolutely toasted and you’re going to see a miserable game. This is also true if the team is supposed to travel that night and they can’t leave until early in the morning. Might as well sell the tickets. This rule will most likely decide a winner more quickly while not burning out either team's bullpen. They could easily fix this by just expanding the rosters but I guess that’s a conversation for another time.

No matter how you feel about these new rule, things are changing in the game of baseball and not always for the better with Manfred running the show. That being said, I think this 2020 season could be one with a lot of surprises and exciting moments. It also has the potential to be the most Mickey Mouse season of all time and could be the start of the downfall of the sport but regardless, let's play ball.

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