Jeff Passan dropped another surprise on the quarantined world earlier this week when he reported on a new MLB plan. That plan was aimed at getting baseball started as soon as possible, with May being a likely date for players to report. But buried in that article were a few interesting pieces on how the new game of baseball could potentially be played.
It’s worth noting that while all of these ideas have been discussed in meetings over the last few weeks, Passan specifies that these topics were not touched in the most recent MLB meeting.
Electronic Strike Zone
Electronic strike zones have long been in the works for MLB. It has been tested in the independent league as well as in some minor league games, and most experts think it will be at the big league level soon. If the league wanted this as part of the new season for 2020, it could be utilized to keep umpires clear of players. In fact, a game could theoretically operate without any umpires on the field at all, given the video equipment available throughout the league.
No Mound Visits
This one is pretty straight forward. In MLB’s efforts to limit player contact, the mound visit would probably be one of the first things to go. Not only would it speed up the pace of play, but it would keep groups of players from gathering. It seems strange that we’re talking about a world of baseball where coaches cannot go out to talk to their players, but that’s where we are.
Shortened Games, But Doubleheaders
This option would likely be used to get more games completed within the shortened year. If MLB was deadset on getting the full 162 games in without extending the season, this would be the best bet. Have doubleheaders often, but shorten up the game so that there is only a total of 14 innings of gameplay rather than the 18. This helps keeps players fresh in what would be a grueling season.
Use of On-Field Microphones
The aspect of on-field microphones has been wildly popular in Spring Training games and All-Star games. So much so that even before the season was suspended, fans were hoping to see more of it. If fans are not allowed in the stands, MLB might consider upping the entertainment value for fans by putting mics on players more often to engage with commentators.
Players Sitting in Stands
Perhaps the strangest but also the most effective idea, having players sit in the empty stands could prove beneficial. If fans are not in attendance, this does not cause any problems. It would really only be designed to help enforce the six-foot social distancing guidelines but could help keep players healthy if the pandemic continues to grow.
What do you think? If all of these rules were implemented for the new 2020 season, would that be too much of a change from the MLB you’ve loved for so long? Let us know in the comments below.