Major League Baseball Rule Changes For 2013
With Spring Training in full swing we can look forward to the upcoming Major League Baseball season. As is the case every year there are a few rule changes to look for. These were ratified by the owners during the off-season but have to be vetted by the players union before taking effect.
But don’t worry, nothing earth shattering has been proposed. The first change reflects the growing multicultural and multilingual reality of Major League Baseball in 2013. This year, assuming player ratification, interpreters will be allowed to accompany managers and pitching coaches to the mound. With the number of Latino players growing exponentially and players of Japanese origin making their mark on MLB this rule makes sense. It will have no effect on the flow of the game but will ensure no silly mistakes are made because of a lack of communication.
Teams will also be allowed to have one more coach in uniform in the dugout; going from six to seven. The two hitting coach preference of many teams will now be reflected in the dugout and not just on the practice field.
The last proposed rule change would see the old fake-throw-to-third-spin-and-throw-to-first move become a balk. Has this ever fooled anyone?
With the possible exception of the new balk, these rule changes, should they be adopted, will have no adverse effect on the game as it’s played between the lines. Which I take to mean baseball is doing a pretty good job! If the only things you can come up with to make the game better are interpreters and an additional coach, things must be in good shape.
I have long believed that baseball is on the right track, designated hitter rule aside, and the proof is the way MLB handles games that are tied at the end of regulation play.
Why some leagues (e.g. NHL and NFL) have recently decided regular season ties are repugnant I don’t understood, but I if other major sports leagues are determined that no game should end in a tie, they should take a look at baseball. As the granddaddy of tie breaking, baseball does it best, and always has: if the score is tied after regulation, they keep going until it’s broken, but they do so by playing the very same rules all the way through. There are three strikes and three outs in the 17th inning, just as there were in the seventh. They don’t play first-third and home; and they don’t have a home run derby to decide the outcome. Hockey with its four-on-four then shoot-out format, and football with its really strange tie breaking procedure should either let games end in ties (as they did for decades) or play the game as it should be played to decide the outcome.
With no major rules changes – bring on the regular season!
Deegan Stubbs is a baseball fan who still laments the loss of his beloved Expos. He blogs as DCMontreal at http://dcmontreal.wordpress.com/ and you can follow him on Twitter @DCMontreal