Early Thoughts on Major League Baseball’s Rules Changes
MLB RULES CHANGES:
I don’t post much about baseball. The main reason for my disinterest is, I don’t like baseball. But, I do bet on it — sometimes heavily. I’ve probably bet more baseball games than any other sport (mostly because there are more of them).
MLB’s new rules changes this year might be the biggest transformation the game has ever experienced. Each of the rules is designed to  shorten the length of games (eliminating dead time) and  increase scoring.
No rule is more significant than the pitch clock, which even changes the way we watch the game (I dare you to try and watch a hitter now, and not pay attention to the clock behind home plate).
Watch this funny video from a MLB game last season that shows how bad the problem of “dead time” is/was between pitches[Credit: Jon Baugues]:
I noted that two-thirds of all spring training games so far have scored 10+ runs. That’s an incredible statistic since the average baseball game has always been in the 8-9 run range. Pitchers are clearly struggling under the “hurried” system that mandates throwing a pitch, even when not fully ready.
I’m interested in reading comments/input from serious baseball fans and experienced bettors on these new rules and listen to your projections on how this will impact the game. A larger question is–will this broaden MLB’s popularity? That’s the real objective.
My Early Reaction: As a sports fan and bettor, I tend to always be in the hard-core “contrarian” camp when it comes to promoting offense, hype, gimmicks, and fluff designed to lure the viewing masses with cheap runs and lots of “excitement.” Even worse, any rule that places MORE emphasis on referees/umpires/officials is BAD for the game–and these new rules are doing precisely that. Just look at the NFL with its ridiculous inconsistencies in officiating. Baseball looks to be heading in that dangerous direction (yes, I understand the NFL is light-years ahead of every other sport in national popularity).
So, there. I’ve given some opinion. But I can also be swayed by those who know the game and love the game better than I do. I’m interested in thoughts on this–on both the viewing experience and/or betting significance.
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Yes, baseball games are too slow. But that should have been addressed long ago, with a few simple changes.
1. IMO, the primary problem has always been batters, stepping out and doing things like adjusting velcro glove straps, etc. after every pitch. Fix: Once batters enter the batter’s box, they can’t step out. If they do, it’s a strike. (Umpire discretion allowed, of course, for severe brushbacks, foul balls off the leg/foot,etc.)
2. Pitchers cannot step off the mound or away from the rubber and count the house while rubbing the ball up. Penalty: 1 strike credit (off the count, or owed on the count).
3. Pitchers: three warm-up pitches each inning, and that’s it.
4. No infield practice at the start of each half-inning.
5. No catcher/pitcher/infield conferences. If you disagree, or are too stupid to remember the signals, tough. Play ball.
6. To get rid of constant multiple pick-off attempts, do two things: credit one ball for the batter for each pick-off attempt, and eliminate the balk rule.
7. Gross timings only. One minutes for the changeover between half-innings, and 15 seconds between pitches/pick-off attempts.