Today The New Rules Matter

Alva Noë for The Conversation on Major League Baseball’s somewhat dramatic rules changes this year:

Clock time is not the only time. Pitches and plate appearances and outs and innings are another way to mark time, the way time in tennis is counted in service games, sets and match points.

In my view, baseball’s problem is not that it is too slow. It’s that it’s too fast. There’s a lot of action; it’s just that novice fans may not have the eyes to see it.

Alex Kirshner for Slate on Major League Baseball’s somewhat dramatic rules changes this year:

The 2023 season will introduce what is perhaps MLB’s biggest ever rules overhaul. MLB has changed its rulebook before, but this year’s reforms will stand out for their rapid noticeability. The new rules will need to overcome a healthy dose of skepticism. Some people will not embrace the changes, either because of traditionalist attachments or a lack of trust in Manfred and his team to change baseball in a way that works for anyone but team owners. But the new rules are important, and they may prove to be the rare case in which the interest of baseball’s ownership class and actual fans overlap.

I’ve already expressed support for the changes, but I want to refine one suggestion of my own.

Baseball games tied at the end of nine innings should get only a tenth inning, with the ghost runner, as a chance to win outright. If still tied after ten, some calculation based upon hits, errors, and left on base determines the win.

Let’s go, Red Sox!

Addenda

  1. Chris Beneke for The Atlantic on Major League Baseball’s somewhat dramatic rules changes—before and after the Civil War.

    Originally, pitchers were expected to toss the ball underhand in a manner that allowed the hitter to put the ball in play, much as you would expect in a modern game of kickball. As baseball became more competitive, however, pitchers began adding spin to the ball and aiming it outside the hitter’s wheelhouse. Finicky batters declined such ungracious offerings and instead waited for another pitch. And then the next. And the next. Nothing prevented this from going on indefinitely, as it sometimes seemed to do. The slow pace was poorly suited to the demands of a people who could communicate via telegraph wires and ride on intricately scheduled railroads, speeding at unfathomed velocities.