By Isaac Rose
The Major League Baseball (MLB) was looking to make some rule changes for the 2017 season as well as experiment with changes that could be implemented in the future. These potential changes include raising the strike zone, getting rid of the pitcher having to throw four pitches for an intentional walk, a thirty second limit for managers to decide of replay reviews, and also an extra base runner at the start of extra innings.
The strike zone would be raised nearly two inches (just above the knee) if the change is correctly enforced, Jayson Stark of ESPN reported. The strike zone has been moved multiple times throughout the history as baseball. In the game’s recent history, nearly 30% of all at bats are strikeouts or walks which is the highest rate of non action in baseball in years. This change to the strike zone could create increased excitement for fans of the game in the future.
The intentional walk has created some interesting moments in the past. Batters have gotten hits by swinging at the slow, outside pitches while pitchers have also botched the throws and created wild pitches. While there has been some excitement, usually an intentional walk is a waste of time for everyone. A proposed idea from the MLB is not to eliminate the intentional walk but to make the process faster. The team signals to the dugout that they would like to walk the batter at the plate and time is saved to prevent the pitcher from throwing 4 pitches to walk the batter.
Last season, replay reviews took just one minute and thirty-six seconds. Although the time it takes to decide a call has gone down since replays were implemented, the MLB still wants to cut down on the time. The proposed change from the MLB is to allow managers just thirty seconds to decide if they would like to challenge a play instead of allowing them to talk with replay assistants for advice on a call. This change would cut down a small amount of time where nothing is happening from the fans perspective.
The last potential change has drawn lots of negative criticism. The MLB is testing a change in the minor leagues where in each extra inning, a runner is placed on second base to get rid of games that take an absurd amount of time. The longest game in MLB history was a 25 inning affair that lasted eight hours and six minutes. Baseball fans love watching extra inning games but non baseball fans would rather have tons of action instead of a long boring game with spurts of anticipation.
The MLB is trying to get more people interested in watching the sport by implementing some of these new changes if they are accepted by the players association.
UPDATE: MLB approved the change to the intentional walk and limiting managers to 30 seconds to make a decision when calling a meeting at the mound.