MLB Rule Changes 2021: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Photo: @Twins - Twitter

The MLB and its Players’ Union finalized what appears to be the last piece of the puzzle in getting the 2021 baseball season underway. The health and safety protocols were recently agreed on and they are extremely strict. Let’s take a look.

For players, there will be no indoor gatherings of 10 or more people (away from the park) during the season. No indoor dining at restaurants. Clubbing is subject to discipline by the league and can include suspension or salary loss.

The MLB adopted some of last year’s rules and implemented them into this season. Those rules include the return of 7-inning double headers and the infamous extra inning rule (runner starts extra innings on 2nd base).

The Universal DH will NOT be included in the 2021 season. With pitchers and catchers reporting this week to their respected facilities in Florida or Arizona, it’s time to scan and survey the good, the bad and the ugly of baseball’s rule changes, en voyage to 2021.

The Good

One of the positive reported health and safety additions will be the “Kinexon Contact Tracing Device”, already in use by the NBA and NFL. Players and staff will wear this contact tracing device and it will provide the proactiveness baseball needs to help them complete a 162 game schedule.

Seven-inning double headers are another constructive idea for 2021. You can fit two baseball games in less than four and a half hours! How about that! If I’m gonna commit to watching four hours of baseball, let’s get the best bang for our buck.

The Bad

How did the extra inning rule pass but not the universal DH? This is where baseball doesn’t make sense and why I talk about the rigidities they can’t seem to shake. Nobody wants to watch pitchers hit .058? Baseball wants to intensify excitement, right?

Adding another hitter to National League lineups offers just that. Selfishly however; I truly believe, had the universal DH passed again for 2021, Nelson Cruz would not be a Minnesota Twin anymore. Unselfishly, hitting would become much more valuable in the NL leading to the further payout for players and more fun for baseball fans.

The Ugly

Major League Baseball’s new extra-innings rule, in which a baserunner is automatically placed at second base with no outs to start every half-inning, is a travesty. I thought I’d never see something worse than the NHL shootout.

In a 60-game season, fine, I get it, but over 162 games? A sacrifice bunt and sac fly can win you an extra inning baseball game. Let that marinate for a second.

At least, if the MLB was going to create this rule, have the team coming up to bat start with one out. Don’t feed me the ‘it’s electric’ and ‘it avoids the 17 inning game’. I’m not buying it.

Until the NBA passes the four point shot, this is the worst rule in the pro four sports.

Stephen Strom | Minnesota Sports Fan