The Baseball Rules: Should Any Be Changed?

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The NFL and NBA seem to change their basic governing rules in football and basketball on a fairly regular basis. Should we see more openness to rules change in baseball?

Do you have some favorite thoughts on rules changes that could either help or seriously harm baseball? If so, what are they? What are the rules in baseball that have evolved into the pillars of the game? Would changing any single one of them alter the ebb and flow of the game into something that hurt our love of baseball?

Once you dig through 4 balls and three strikes per batter, 3 outs per each team time at bat, 9 innings per game, 3 bases and home plate in a diamond-shaped configuration at 90 feet long right angles and a pitching rubber that is 60 feet 6 inches from home plate, and all the other rules prescriptions for how a batter either negotiates his way around the bases or, otherwise, is declared out before scoring, or even reaching first, can you think of any fundamental rule that now exist that would, if it were changed, either stand as a big improvement or a major disaster to the game we now know and love as baseball?

If you  are the type who enjoys the more detailed approach to this same subject, here is a link to the official rules book for Major League Baseball play in 2015.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2015/official_baseball_rules.pdf

Perhaps some of you will find something in there that you strongly support or oppose. Even if you are not so detail-minded, it is still OK to respond to the question intuitively, based upon your personal experience as either a player or devoted spectator. And don’t take the easy way out and simply keep your thoughts to yourself. Please post a long or brief statement of your thoughts in the comment section that follows this column in The Pecan Park Eagle.

And, if that works for you, how do you Astros fans feel about the “DH” rule, now that Houston has had some short-time full season experience as an American League club?

Have fun!

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7 Responses to “The Baseball Rules: Should Any Be Changed?”

  1. Cliff Blau Says:

    A lot of them. For starters, the pitcher should be moved back, and the ball deadened.

    Also, I’d do away with appeal plays. If a guy misses a base, or leaves before the catch, he should be called out without the defense having to go through a ritual.

  2. vdpittman Says:

    I’ve always felt that baseball would be a lot more entertaining if baserunners were allowed to keep their bats.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Love it, Darrell!

      On the subject of bats, why is it that you can’t bring a bat into the ballpark because it has the potential for use as a weapon, but once you get into the ball park, it’s OK to keep any part of a bat that flies into the stands at you?

      Is the only difference between a weapon and a souvenir a simple matter of where and when and how you got it? If that’s the case, those little bats for sale in the gift shop have to be souvenirs too. The club could not possibly be selling weapons, could they? 🙂

  3. Larry Dierker Says:

    Eliminate the DH. Worse than the Black Sox Scandal and almost as bad as MLB. In it’s place, the manager can pinch hit for the pitcher any time without removing the pitcher. But the pinch hitter cannot re-enter the game. The union would squawk. Give them a 26th man on the roster. With 13 pitchers (which is ridiculous in and of itself), managers in the only real baseball league (NL) need an extra pinch hitter anyway.

    Also, do not allow the pitcher to fake to second base without throwing.

    Eliminate replays and use the electronic strike zone. Missed balls and strikes change the outcome of more games than missed calls on the bases. And standardizing the zone wouldn’t add one second to the game.

    Runners with bats would be nice too. Do you think they would go back to using heavier bats?

    • Charles Saeger Says:

      The DPH you propose is great (I’ve had the same idea), Larry (are you the real one?), but the rosters need to go down to 21. Expand by 10 teams to please the players union and correct for population shifts (adds 90 players), split the two leagues by east/west and never let the two leagues play each other until the WS to avoid the West Coast start time issue.

      Let players turn down walks to keep batting.

  4. gregclucas Says:

    I’m an anti-DH guy and like Larry’s thought. In fact way back in 1979 when I worked in Buffalo and had the late Joe Reichler come into Buffalo to be on my talk show I gave him my proposal. Almost like Larry’s except it would the manager’s call whether the pitcher hit or not. A player called a DPH or designated pinch hitter, could be used for that pitcher once without the pitcher having to leave the game. The DPH could be used twice in any nine innings. It wouldn’t have to be for the same pitcher…just in the same spot in the order. This proposal kept some of the strategy involved because the manager would have to pick his spot when to use his “free” pinch hit for his starter. Normally with two out and no one on early in the game the Mgr would not waste the DPH and let the hurler hit. Or perhaps if he came up at a point where he could sacrifice a runner over he might stay in the game. The only weakness in this really is that in the current game pitchers rarely get more than two ABs in a game anyway. The NL uses a lot of PHs and switches–which I like–and so do all bench players in baseball–because they get to see much more action than in the AL. Also, the NL does not carry as many pitchers and thus can’t make as many changes–thus slowing down the game. The DPH would be OK for two AB’s in any nine innings which means in an extra inning game he could be used again. It wouldn’t be free reign, though. Once he established a spot in the batting order he would be stuck in being used in that spot.

    Its not really as complicated as it may sound here….I also agree the balk rules need to be re-written. I would agree to an electronic strike zone, but it has not been perfected yet. (Not that umpires have been perfected either, of course.) I keep seeing a lot of strikes called on balls well below the knee area when the side TV shot is shown. Also have to have a system that adjusts better for stances and can handle the depth of the zone and not just the front of the plate. I would put more restrictions on replay use for certain plays at certain times. Two outs in the 2nd in a 0-0 game and the runner is picked off first? Why replay that? But similar situations are the norm. Perhaps if the call had to be quicker so that the relay information from the clubhouse and the team’s video crew can’t affect the manager’s call would help.

    I don’t advocate this one, but what if the hitter with the bases empty could elect which way he would run on a batted ball? His decision would determine the direction succeeding hitters would have to run as long as there was a base runner. Or, allowing a team to turn a double play with two outs. The extra out would carry over to the opponent’s next half inning. They would only have two outs to work with!

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Greg –

      On those last two changes, I also offer a loud NO WAY!

      1) RUNNER’S CHOICE ON DIRECTION TO RUN WITH BASES EMPTY. – Can’t you just see the first of numerous times that a right handed batter “forgets” that there is a runner on 3rd, running the conventional counter-clockwise direction, and the batter decides to run clockwise upon putting the ball safely in play because he thinks the bases are empty? He and the runner are both out when they cross paths with each other, causing a double play – with two outs already – and one of the outs now is going forward against the team’s next at bat.

      2) DP’s WITH TWO OUTS CARRY ONE OUT FORWARD TO THE TEAM’S NEXT TIME AT BAT. – Does that mean, in logical sequence, that a triple play with two outs already recorded will carry forward 2 outs to the next inning? WOW? Can’t you just see a club coming up with only out to work with? The first batter pops out to 2nd on the first pitch and the team has to go back into the field. – Inning over.

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