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I Guess I am not a Traditionalist - The much-needed Baseball Game Changers

What a game - the Chicago White Sox scored 22 runs in the bottom of the ninth to overcome the Chicago Cubs huge lead. Bravo!

You thought Moneyball changed baseball, look out below!

Ok, it’s my day to be a little silly (crazy?) as I try to help major league baseball with their pace of play and the inadequate amount of action in the modern game. The following baseball game changers would revolutionize the game, for sure. Sorry, traditionalists, the age of the three point shot in basketball and the pass first mentality in football are here, it’s baseball’s turn. Throw out the record books, the younger generation wants scoring and action. The days of the eight run home run is coming.

I am not in the boat where I feel like the games are too long, although I have a hard time devoting three hours to watching the whole thing. Baseball is baseball so I can live with it. But let’s spice it up with more action. These baseball game changers will bring the excitement and maybe the kids back to the games.

I certainly like the idea of a pitch clock. If the ball isn’t delivered on time, it’s an automatic ball, and if the batter is not ready, it’s an automatic strike. Also, having been a contact hitter with no power whatsoever when I played major league baseball, it does bother me to see the number of swings and misses and subsequent strikeouts which lead to a lot of inaction. With that in mind, I have some possible changes to the modern game of baseball that will help spice it up and hopefully get the ball in play more. Of course, I do not expect MLB to make all of these changes at once, but in time, we may not recognize the games as we know them now. Here comes the action.

Now, before you think I am nuts, I want to remind you that I predicted the following before they occurred:
1. Red flag baseball, where managers could challenge umpire calls.
2. Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 7 games last year.
3. Allowing even the known steroid players in the Hall of Fame because we can’t determine the clean athlete’s from the unclean. Pretty sure some of the users are in already, and the known ones are on the rise in the voting.
4. That Bryce Harper needed to make some swing changes, which he did.
5. That the MLB needed to do more to protect the fans with better netting, which most teams have, I believe.

“Yea for Me!” OK, here we go, hold on.

Baseball Game Changers to revolutionize the game

So pitchers quit nibbling

1 – For all walks, the batter goes to second base and not first. Pitchers will either challenge the hitters or pay dearly for not doing it. The days of the pitcher that tries to nibble the corners will be limited.  If runners are on second and third the walked batter gets a RBI and with the bases loaded, the batter gets two RBI. No more intentional walks, people are there to see the best hitters bat and the pitchers to accept all challenges, not to see the managers manage and scared teams.

Putting speed back in the games

2 – Only two outfielders. For the odd innings, the defense chooses how to position the two, and for the even innings, the offense picks a field to leave open. How fun would it be to see the defensive players scrambling all over the place when balls get to the outfield and runners getting more doubles and triples and inside the park home runs. Craziness! The two player outfield puts a premium on contact, as opposed to all the strikeouts in today’s game.

Fantasy pick of the day

3 – Before each inning, the offensive team manager gives the umpire a card on which they pick one batter that inning. If the declared batter hits a home run, they double the number of runs that score on the home run. Of course, the umpire rules that after such home run. Theoretically, a home run could be worth up to 8 runs with a grand slam. No lead would be insurmountable. Fun, fun. Hey, a little gambling will spice things up for sure.

Bonus payoff

4 – Batters get an added strike after the seventh inning, if they had no previous strikeouts in the game, with a minimum of three plate appearances. So, when the flamethrowers from the bullpen come into games, batters may have earned four strikes instead of the standard three, which would help the late inning action in games and fewer strikeouts. Remember, it only takes three walks in an inning to score a run, so pitchers, beware. Pinch hitters will get that extra strike if they bat for a batter who did not have a previous strikeout.

Doubling down

5 – Before the game and only to the umpire, managers pick an inning in which they will double their runs for that inning. It would be fun, and we would find out which managers are best with predicting the inning of most production. Once again, score swings would be fun, possible and leads would never be safe. Yes, an inning of ten runs would be doubled to twenty if the manager chose that inning prior to the game.

No more easy outs

6 - Because speedy outfielders will be needed, each team can have up to three DH”s. Sorry national league, pitchers hitting has to go. We want the best hitters alive to be in the games, even those who cannot catch a cold.

More contact, please

  1. Because we penalize pitchers for the walks and rewarded batters with an extra strike for no previous strike outs, batters who have two strikeouts in a game only get two strikes for any subsequent bats. That will teach players to make contact – maybe?

Of course, some of this may need some tweeking, but the time has come for some more action and crazy scoring. It’s a new generation, and thrilling action is what sports are all about now. Because MLB baseball is slow to change, I propose one of these baseball game changers each year until all are in effect. At the least, let’s incorporate these changes into youth baseball and let them have the fun.

 I could use your help with this, so any other suggestions are welcome. Fire away!

Views: 125

Comment by David Friedman on July 31, 2017 at 11:50am

"3 – Before each inning, the offensive team manager gives the umpire a card on which they pick one batter that inning. If the declared batter hits a home run, they double the number of runs that score on the home run." That would surely be fun...with Ireland's National team this year, we picked a player from our opposition each half inning. Our PA announcer announced who it was, and if they struck out, our concessions offered half price beer for the rest of what remained of the inning, or for 5 minutes if he was out #3. That was very enjoyable for all of us, and gave us a bit of a "bond" with the opposition. It actually put the pressure on the opposing batters, who didn't want to be known as the hitter who made our fans happy! Maybe this would work, too!  D. Friedman, Ass't coach, Irish National Baseball Team 2017.

Comment by Richard Lovell on July 31, 2017 at 1:32pm

Jack, great ideas. I have read and watched a lot of your stuff on hitting and can't say I agree with everything, but isn't this what discussion is all about? Now, back to the task at hand...I've only read your input above once so far, but it sure sounds doable. I am going to pass this along to people I know and I realize many of them will be against (darn traditionalists, which I am somewhat), but if they think about it I believe people will come around to some of your ideas here. Thanks for thinking outside the box. It's been almost 20 years since there has been major excitement in baseball with Sosa and McGuire, unless you count the Cubs winning, so I agree with you that is about time for more excitement to be added and lord knows it has been longer than that since any major changes.  Good luck with it and I hope you impact the people that can make these changes. Or at least some of them.

Comment by David Friedman on July 31, 2017 at 1:36pm
Every game feature one local legend...i.e., a Stan Musial League player, or a NABA player, or Men's Sr League player, and have him suit up, take warm-up and get inserted into the game for a half inning somewhere. That would be a ton of fun, but indeed should result in some errors and unearned runs!!
Comment by Bruce Sarte on September 3, 2017 at 7:57am

As a fan, I do not think the game needs to be sped up.  It is fine just as it is.  The only people clamoring for a "shorter, more fluid game" are the people who at worried about money.  That being said, I agree 100% with the "more contact" idea you put forward.  Strikeouts used to be fun and exciting, and now they've become far too common place.  Hitters need to learn how to hit for power without striking out every third at bat.  Guys used to be able to do it... and the pitching isn't that much better than in the 80;s.  The idea of "put the ball in play and make something happen" is dead, because as Crash Davis said, "Chicks dig the long ball."

Having said I am not in favor of speeding up the game, I am not sure how your suggestions speed up them game.  Picking the positions will take time and delate the start of the inning.  Plus it would lead to a good number of more hits and increased offense, which would speed up the action but make the game longer.  I guess it depends on what you are looking for.  But I don't like the idea, either way.

And I just can't get behind putting a runner on second base on a walk.  Pitchers nibbling is a great part of the game.  BUT - I also hate the idea of putting a runner on second in extra innings, which minor league baseball was experimenting with this season.

We may not agree - but great post, anyway! 

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