Tweaking Baseball Rules (and possibly tweaking Bud)

Since my attempts to hack into the MLB server to make changes to the official rules of baseball have failed miserably, my backup option is to add a FanPost about four rule changes that I would like to see. (If you can help with the first option....)

Baseball has long been a tradition is king sport - slow to change in any aspect.

From the perspective of statistics, regular rule changes would make team and player statistics difficult to compare from year to year, decade to decade, generation to generation. With that viewpoint, it is hard to believe the designated hitter and interleague play were ever implemented.

Rule changes that have little impact on the game would seem to have a better chance of gaining approval.

Rule 1:

First issue is what should happen to the designated hitter rule. Historically, the question has been whether to eliminate the rule or force both leagues to use the DH. Once interleague play was approved with using the home team rules regarding the DH, the ultimate solution seems to be an extension of this rule.

Why not give the home team manager the choice at the start of each series whether to use the DH or not. This gives the home team manager a potential advantage - sometimes he'll want to use the DH against a particular team, other teams he might feel better about his chances with no DH. A manager might also consider playing time and injuries on both teams in deciding which way provides his team the best advantage.

By having this rule, all teams would build their roster with the same mindset - that the DH may or may not be used in any series. Currently, American League teams commonly have a full-time DH who doesn't play on defense. When the American League team plays an interleague game in the National League stadium, they have to shift players around to accommodate their DH playing in the field - clearly a disadvantage since the team wasn't built for the few series played in NL cities. The new rule would place an emphasis on the DH being able to adequately play a defensive position.

Rule 2:

A second rule change that would provide interest early in a game would be to have the pre-game lineup card list just the starting players by position, but not the batting order. The batting order would be set during the first time thru the lineup by allowing the manager to decide who bats next as the first few innings unfold.

For example, if a team has a runner on first and one out, you might hold back a hitter that routinely hits into double plays. Another example would be if a national league team has two outs when the number eight hitter is due up, the manager might decide to bat the pitcher eighth instead of ninth.

Rule 3:

A third rule change would address the safety concerns of broken bats. Instead of ruling on which type of wood is acceptable (ash and/or maple), allow the decision to be made by the players in this manner - if any part of a bat leaves the home plate dirt area due to lost grip or broken bat during a swing, the play is ruled dead and a strike is called (not foul). This rule will eventually cause players to avoid bats that frequently break and the rule will improve fielder safety by letting the player focus on getting out of the way of a flying bat since play is ruled dead.

Rule 4:

A fourth rule change would address the manager's use of the intentional base on balls during a tight game. Fans come to the game wanting to see the best pitcher match up with the best hitter, but frequently the manager will decide to intentionally walk the best hitter, taking away an exciting matchup for the fans.

The new rule would be that, at any point in the game, when a batter is walked on only four pitches, whether intentional or not, the batter is awarded two bases. This change will not have a major impact on stats, while providing an incentive to pitch to each batter.

A related change to improve player safety, when a player is hit by a pitch above the elbow on the arm or above the belt on the body, the player is awarded two bases. The theory is that the payback hit-by-pitch any where near the head would be phased out with the higher cost of two free bases.

From a stat perspective, these changes could be recorded as a normal walk or hit-by-pitch with the runners advancing by rule like a balk or as a player advance on 'delay of game'.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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