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MLB News: Baseball Examining Drastic Rule Changes

Major League Baseball is examining some rule changes by experimenting with several aspects of the game within the Atlantic League. Now, the first I saw of this was tweeted by Jacob Bogage on twitter; and in turn retweeted by several well-known beat writers.

Therefore – if you’re a traditionalist – you may want to make sure you’re seated for this post. The changes would be somewhat drastic in regards to the game we have become accustomed to seeing.

Indeed – if baseball is considering things like moving the mound distance (always set at 60 feet, six inches since forever) – one may wonder the reason why. Moreover, larger bases? Robot umpires? To some degree this seems like crazy talk regardless of where the ideas are derived from.

Rich Hill Weighs in on Proposed Changes

Moreover, veteran Rich Hill has played in the Atlantic League with the Long Island Ducks.

Hill has thoughts on the proposed changes he shared with J.P. Hoornstra.

“A joke,” he said. “It’s sad that they’re doing that, honestly. I’m definitely for change. Are there more efficient ways to play the game? Sure. I’m sure there are. But that’s not the way the game was designed, the way the game was structured.”

Hill saved his sharpest criticism for the longer mound distance – from 60 feet, 6 inches to 62 feet, 6 inches. That rule will only go into effect in the second half of the Atlantic League season, so pitchers will have to adjust this summer on the fly.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Hill said. “Two feet is a huge difference. The game’s been played that way for 100 years. I don’t understand why – I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Hill is a smart player. For him to be staunchly against the infrastructure of the game’s foundation being changed likely speaks for many other veterans in the league.

We need to hope that baseball comes to it’s collective senses on this and leaves what we have become accustomed to alone. The biggest one for me would be the robot umpires. I enjoy the human element of the game – even errant calls.


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What is the biggest rule change you would be against? And how does baseball considering these changes at all make you feel? Let us know in the comments!

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. Actually, I think several of those are great concepts that would really increase the enjoyment of the game:

    – Move the mound? Good God, no. What idiot came up with that BS?

    – 3 batter minimum for pitchers? Now you’re onto something. This would be a fantastic change. The continuity of games breaks completely down when managers like our beloved Dave Roberts start bringing in a new pitcher to face every damn batter in the last 3 innings. I’m all for making these middle relievers really earn some money.

    – Larger bases??? What the hell? Is this so Manny Machado will have a harder time trying to injure first basemen whenever he’s in a sulk? Again, who even thinks of this crap?

    – Radar-controlled strike zones? You bet. I’m sick to death of strike zones that vary from game to game or even from batter to batter. Let’s bring some consistency into the game.

    Now, the quid pro quo for that rule change should be a limitation of no more than 1 instant replay review per team per game. I sat through a Rangers/Astros game last year that had 9 instant replay reviews and lasted almost 4 hours as a result. 8 of the 9 reviews upheld the call on the field. THAT is where the most wasted time is these days. These umpires are actually pretty damn good, unlike football referees.

    – The no mound visit thing is absurd. Just ridiculous. No.

    – Now, a restriction on defensive shifts is something that’s way overdue. We have managers in the game today who are employing shifts for 3-4 batters in a game. It’s out of hand. I’d be in favor of restricting it to the extent that the infielders must remain on their side of second base, but no more than that. Honestly, I don’t think you could enforce anything more draconian than that, anyway.

  2. Moving the mound back two feet is stupid, ludicrous! I support the three batter minimum for pitchers, wouldnneed an exception if they suffer an injury. I also think prohibiting the shift would be a good thing.

  3. Moving the mound back 2 feet could be the worst idea in history! If it’s applied, watch “The Arm” problem mushroom. Thinking must e that with 100+ mph fastballs becoming coming, expanded bullpens, etc. the scale is tipping too far in pitchers favor BUT…I think there are safer/more subtle remedies exist (i.e. lowering the mound, maybe moving the mound back to 61′. Also, no visits to the mound is just stupid; I think the limiting rule now in effect is adequate and effective.
    The shift is just playing smart ball but there must be a way to modify it; that said, if batters weren’t so obsessed with the BIG launch angle HR all or nothing swing, the shift might become naturally a modified periodic occurrence.

    • sorry for the typos; meant “With 100+ fastballs becoming common”. PLUS horrific grammar….Lesson: PROOFREAD!

  4. Agree with glpeck above on all 3 issues he states. Aren’t there enough arm issues and T.J. surgeries as it is. Moving the mound back – don’t think so. Maybe what we need is a new commissioner. Just saying!

  5. Moving the mound back 2 feet??? DEAD WRONG AND ALSO DUMB. STUPID AND RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! those who even think this is a good change for the game should have their heads examined!.. I am for eliminating these excessive defensive shift for sure. As far as that 3 batter minimum goes, ok except if a reliever comes in and gets the side out with 1 batter or 2 batters to end inning. That reliever SHOULD NOT HAVE TO RETURN the next inning to face a 3rd batter, and especially if that said reliever’s spot in the batting order is due up, he must not be made to stay in and take an AB, just because he must face a 3rd batter the next inning…STUPID. That being said, maybe if the NL did have the DH, then that point would be mute.

  6. The radar assisted strike zone is the only one I’d like to see happen. Too many umps are inconsistent in the ball & strike calls. Think Joe West here! That guy shouldn’t be allowed behind the plate!

  7. I never have liked the BIG defensive shift where a position is left uncovered. Same with changing pitchers for every batter. I think most of us agree those are good changes, except an inning ending pitcher. Radar strike zone is way overdue. When we are able to see, on TV, the obvious wrong calls, this eliminates arguing at the plate. Larger bases? Why? Move the mound? Again, why? Limited mound visits has corrected a lot. To not allow a visit to check on a pitcher is just wrong.

  8. I am a traditionalist, as such I don’t agree with most of the changes. However, I do understand that today’s mentality is about lots of runs and homeruns, less about pitching and the subtle strategy of the game. For myself a 2-1 game is far more exciting than a 16-13 game. Yet I do realize that people today need survivor, dancing with the stars or circus baseball game. Anyway, I am more than willing to live in the past when we had baseball icons, rather than million dollar babies. Oh well.

    • Amen, Robert! And I don’t like the artificial excitement strategy of noise noise NOISE!. Is it used to let the casual TV watcher they can be excited at any given moment since they have no true emotional connection with the game?
      I think all this BS is because MLB has to draw from non fans because way too much money is involved in the game now (and real baseball fans, unlike in the past, can’t offer enough financial support for this multibillion dollar business.

  9. Change the best game that has ever been invented? This sounds like some of the stupidity that comes out of Washington, D.C. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

  10. Well Hi guys & girls.Here we go again. Change this and change that. What the hee haw is going on here? Are we turning into the NFL? If the changes are to keep players from getting hurt well it’s not going to help.Won’t the pitchers get hurt more often if the mound is moved further away? Just inches can make a big difference.Larger bases? What players all of a sudden have bigger feet? defensive shift, ok how about 1 per player per game(any and all they want to shift on). I like the radar thing but it depends on what they’re talking about,I’d like to hear a little more about it and may have a suggestion or two to help. Minimum visits? Keep it they way it is now. it’s working. batter minimum? Crazy idea. NO! The replays should be made from within that stadium, not from New York or some other place not close. They angles and views from the stadium and broadcasting channels should be enough.
    Good night Ladies & Gents.

  11. Have the ball hit off a tee, since that is the direction MLB baseball is headed, start now; Have two sets of bases. One is for the defense and the other for the offense. This way there is not direct contact by anyone; Have outs due to bad sportsmanship. If a player says anything that could be considered negative, he is out and ejected from the game; Limit the number of runs a team can score. This stops humiliating the losing team; Have commercials run during a game, so as not to lengthen a game; Sliding should be illegal as spikes hurt; Once a year, have children make one rule up to make it more enjoyable for them. Oh wait, we already have Manfred, so you can disregard everything I said.

    • You hit the ball right on the head Mike. Might as well play the game like in senior league( 55 & over ). some of those rules are like senior league. leave it alone!

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