With new rules constantly being put into place in Major League Baseball, many fans have grown frustrated with what the game has become.
The league only ever creates new rules with good intentions, but the results often create a less desirable product for fans.
This begs the question: Does the league even need to be fixed, or are the new rules unnecessary?
Some Rules Solve Problems While Others Create Problems
Over the years, certain issues have surfaced that needed to be addressed.
For instance, introducing video review was a good initiative in theory.
Game-changing calls were blown far too often with no way of changing the call on the field.
The video review system we have now is flawed, as obvious calls are still blown too often and the review process usually takes too long, but it’s still a net positive.
That’s an example of a rule that was introduced to fix a legitimate problem.
Then you’ve got rules that were instituted unnecessarily, like the free runner rule in extra innings.
This rule is very unpopular and is arguably a net negative.
Those are just a couple of the rules that we’ve seen introduced in recent years, but there are more.
Let’s grade them all.
Grading Each Major Rule Change On A 1-10 Scale, With 1 Being Poor And 10 Being Great
Video Review – 7/10
Like we mentioned already, video review was a good initiative.
The current system in place is an imperfect one, but it’s better than having no review system in place at all.
Hopefully, the league can tweak some of the flaws in the near future.
Sticky Substance Ban – 5/10
The sticky substance ban has a lot of fair justifications.
Namely, with offense down across the board, it’s a good time to nix any sort of unfair advances that pitchers have.
But introducing the ban mid-season has been controversial, and so has the way the ban has been enforced.
After being checked for sticky substance 3 times tonight, Max Scherzer stared down Phillies Manager Joe Girardi while walking to the dugout. Girardi then left his dugout and had some words for Scherzer, which led to Girardi being ejected.pic.twitter.com/3laApv2YdR
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 23, 2021
Some fans have tossed around a handful of creative suggestions as to how the league could better enforce the ban.
To name one, the league could check a pitcher’s spin rate statistics after a start to see if his numbers were unusual.
MLB could hand out punishments from there.
Seven-Inning Doubleheaders – 5/10
Seven-inning doubleheaders are widely hated, but there is a somewhat fun element of urgency that comes along with them.
Every hit, run and out has an elevated sense of importance when the game is just seven innings long.
That said, the rule has a very gimmicky feel to it, and it’s hard to take a seven-inning game as seriously as a nine-inning game when you see a situation unfold like the Madison Bumgarner game earlier this season.
As a reminder, he tossed seven no-hit innings in a win but didn’t get credit for an official no-hitter.
Bumgarner dishes out a 7-inning no-hitter!
— Stadium (@Stadium) April 25, 2021
If a no-hitter can’t be official in a seven-inning game, then how can the outcome be considered official?
Extra Innings Free Runner Rule – 3/10
Like the seven-inning doubleheader rule, the free runner rule in extras is too gimmicky.
It’s basically the baseball equivalent of a shootout in hockey, and that’s not the way baseball fans want games decided.
On top of that, there is a very vanilla way of getting that run home from second without fail: two straight sacrifices.
That’s not an exciting brand of baseball.