My Top Five Innovative Ideas For MLB’s Next Rules Committee Meeting

In a recent article on, it was written that “a pitch timer, limits on defensive shifts and bigger bases are coming to Major League Baseball in 2023.” The article explains in full detail the discussions and decisions made by the Joint Competition Committee which are “aimed at improving pace of play, action and safety at the MLB level.” The pitch timer is already being used in the minor leagues and to some success, according to some experts. The defensive shift, which aimed to use technology and software analysis of hitter’s strengths, will be replaced by a 3rd basemen and Shortstop on the left side of second base and a 2nd baseman and 1st baseman on the right side of second base – weird huh??? And finally, the bases which were once 15 inches square will now be 18 inches square – probably the least impactful but more safety driven new rule in place. But what about all those other great ideas for, as they say, improving the fan experience that you toss around with your baseball buddies? And I throw out to my wife as we are driving to the grocery store? Well, here are my top 5 innovative ideas for MLB’s next committee meeting. And you can hold your applause until the end please…

The Drag Bunt to 3rd base – If there are no runners on base, a batter would be allowed to bunt the baseball and run to 3rd base. If the batter makes 3rd, he is allowed to stay at 3rd base. Imagine a speedy left-handed batter, bottom of the 9th inning, game in the balance – pushing a bunt down the 3rd base line and becoming the winning run at 3rd base almost instantly? That’s an exciting play that would get the fans charged up!

The Intentional Strikeout – Right now we have the intentional walk. In years and decades passed, a pitcher had to actually throw 4 balls out of the strike zone intentionally, thus walking the batter he did not want to face. Now, managers just hold up the number 4 and the batter drops his bat, his elbow pad, his shin guard, his batting gloves, and trots down to first base. Well, with the intentional strikeout, games that are complete blow outs can be over in an instant. The batter will still be announced at the plate, walk up and stand there in the batter’s box. The umpire will signal “play ball” to the pitcher, who is ready on the rubber. Then, the manager of the hitting team will hold up 3 fingers for a strikeout. And each successive batter will be “struck out” intentionally in the same manner until the game ends. This way you, the manager and team, don’t have to use position players to pitch in games that are scoring at 17-3 in the top of the 9th inning. It moves the game along, which the committee is intent on doing for fans. Quicker games, right?

Instant Replay of Cheap Home Runs – I watched a highlight the other day of CJ Cron of the Colorado Rockies who hit a home run over 500 feet. Wow, that is impressive. And I also watch hitters, completely overpowered by 100 mph fastballs but are super strong, muscle up home runs to the opposite field over the fence marked 325. With this new instant replay of cheap home runs rule, the stat geeks would analyze the distance of the home run and would determine if it would be a home run in at least 80% of the current MLB stadiums. If I was determined that the home run fell short of the mark to gain, the player would be awarded a ground rule double. After all, the ball was still hit pretty hard and far, but you have to earn your home runs with my rule. A pop fly home run to right field in Fenway by the Pesky Pole, would now be just a ground rule double as would the short porch in right field at the new Yankee Stadium. Come on players, fans want to see CJ Cron like home runs, not just pop fly dunkers over a short fence.

Hit A Batter, You Are the DH next game – Pitchers were also hitters for decades in the Major Leagues. Many of these pitchers were actually hitters in college and in high school and in youth baseball leagues. Very few, a very small percentage took the mound at age 8 and never batted in a game. And now with the Universal DH, Pitchers don’t have to hit in the National League at all. Only Shohei Ohtani of the Anaheim (or is California) Angels pitches and hits in the same game now – by choice and by the team’s choice because he is a generational talent. So, pitchers can breath easy now knowing that they can do their job on the mound and not have to face a guy like Ohtani or deGrom or Cole at the plate in the same game. However, with my new rule of hitting batters, a pitcher would then assume the role of DH in the next game. Here is how it works. Let’s say Gerrit Cole is on the mound and is really, really upset with the Tampa Bay Rays Wander Franco, because Franco is batting .900 against him. To move Franco off the plate, Cole hits him (he says unintentional, it just slipped) and the two teams do the run out to the mound, sprint in from the dugout, swear-fest, hand pointing, dance that MLB teams tend to do these days. Well, after the teams and pitchers and coaches return order and return to their dugouts, a rules committee member assigned to the game makes a determination if the Hit By Pitch of Franco by Cole was intentional. If it was deemed intentional, the Pitcher Cole becomes DH Cole the next game. But opposing pitchers looking for revenge should heed this warning – if you hit Cole in retaliation the next game, then you would be subject to his discipline as well and then you would become your team’s DH in your next game. Fans really love a good chess match in these MLB games and this HBP Pitcher becomes DH rule will really entertain them!

Playoff Draft of the Players from Teams Not Making Playoffs – This one is sure to get fans very excited come playoff time. Now that nearly half of all teams make the playoffs, 40% to be exact, let’s really ratchet up the excitement for post season play with this new playoff draft. In this scenario, teams would be able to select top players on basement dwelling MLB teams for their playoff runs. Players would have to opt in for post season consideration and would only play on the playoff teams they were chosen for until that team’s postseason ends. So, a player could be selected and play only 1 round or play in games up until and including the World Series. In the current format, select All Star players like Ohtani, Mike Trout, Rafael Devers, Corey Seager, Kris Bryant could now jump to a playoff team and make a huge difference in the outcome of the playoffs. Can you imagine Mike Trout on the Yankees or Rafeal Devers on the Dodgers or Ohtani on the Mets for 2 weeks time? That would change things quite a bit, I would say, and really put fans in the stands in gigantic numbers as well as crank up the TV ratings! Unfortunately for some star players, they never see the light of a playoff game stadium under the current MLB playoff set up. This new playoff draft spectacular could get them that ring they always wanted.

These new rule changes, along with the robot umpires and perhaps one day robot players and managers, could really charge up and excite the fan base of professional baseball. If you or anyone you know is on the Joint Competition Committee, I can draft these and my other 500 or so proposals to you in short order. And if you would like to comment or mock or tweak some of my rules for the betterment of the game, send me a message. I would love to hear your comments.

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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