Proposed Rule Changes Key To Rejuvenate Baseball?
Several proposed rule changes proposed by the Major League Baseball Players' Association deemed too intricate to put into action for this season, according to MLB commissioner Ron Manfred. However, ideas to change the speed of the game, such as a pitch clock, have been focused on intently.
While the implementation of the designated hitter in the National League this season won’t occur, Manfred felt some optimism with the pitch clock proposal and three-batter minimum requirements for relief pitchers unless the inning ends before three batters have been faced.
The game has slowed somewhat over the years and the goal between the players, owners and commissioner alike what to put the most entertaining product before the fans. Many belief speeding up the game will do just that.
The idea behind the minimum batters faced for a relief pitcher is again to change the direction in which relievers are used, which also helps solve the pace of play issue. This won’t take hold this season, however, as the players union is demanding a delay until 2020.
Further thought processes regarding this rule change would be to encourage longer outings by starting pitchers since relievers would be forced to work longer. The notion of a complete game in MLB has been all but eliminated with the increased number of relievers used per game.
Some of the issues have been the slow free agent market, which has hindered negotiations on rule changes. Last season, free agent signings were dreadfully slow and although this season has been better, top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper weren't signed until months into the process.
Major League Baseball attendance has been on the downward trend for the past three seasons. Negativity among social media about teams tanking has not helped matters. Manfred is hopeful that some rule changes will help bring more interest back to the game and reverse the sagging attendance.
One can only wait to see what, if any, effect rule changes will play in the rejuvenation of ballpark attendance.