Rob Manfred fundamentally changes baseball

Baseball is touted as America’s national pastime because of its traditions. The game’s origins go back to the pre-Civil War days, before any other major professional sports leagues existed. Over time, traditions were established. At the heart of these traditions is a set of playing rules that have governed the game itself for over 160 years.

Little has changed in the basic playing rules of baseball since the US and National Leagues settled on eight franchises in each league at the turn of the 20th century. Since the first day of conversation World Championship Held among the league winners in 1903, for over 50 years, there were no concessions to fold up or pick up and move to another city.

As tournaments began to expand west to the Pacific, south to Florida and Texas, and north to Canada, the rules of play remained consistent. This was until now, when Commissioner Rob Manfred decided the game could be improved, at least according to his definition for the better. Manfred’s new ‘competition committee’ heralds a host of changes for the 2023 season That radically changes the game.

In its formative years, the rules of the game saw significant changes in the rules of play from the original “Knickerbocker rules” founded in 1847, as well as equipment, statistical definitions, and the use of technology. By the time the National League was formed in 1876, the game had settled on nine men on a team, nine innings per game—unless tied, the referee called balls and hits, and the volleyball caught was out. And always, the run was scored by the hitter running around the bases—all four bases—and crossing the house board before three teams scored.

There were still fundamental changes to be made to the game in the 19th century, as the game evolved from having a “jug box” of 3 feet by 12 feet to 6 feet square with the leading edge being 50 feet from the house board, to a mound with a rubber pad 60 feet 6 inches from the house. This rule was completed in 1893. The four-ball outing and three-stroke counting was completed in 1889.

Finishing touches adopted in the last decade of the 19th century included the pitched fly rule, with foul balls counted as hits until the hitter received two hits. The catches and foul balls are always hits, and the catcher’s entry rule.

There were very, very few changes to the rules of play during the entire 20th century. In 1926, a ball bouncing over a fence became a double standard for “ground rule” in all parks. The mound was taken down in 1969, and the American League adopted the designated hitter rule in 1973.

There have been adjustments to strike area size, defensive interference, and bans on spitballs, but most of the changes were related to stats or technology. The definition of a sacrifice fly has changed many times over the years, and there have been changes to what constitutes “saving.” The expansion brought more interval games, but the rules of play remained consistent.

The lighting was a big change, with the first night game being played in 1935. The ability to turn on the lights on all but tie games, which could have been called up due to darkness, and then restarted or resumed at different times. But the match was always over, according to the same scoring rules as during the final rounds.

Otherwise, the game was the game. Baseball has preserved its traditions and rules.

The rules of MLB play have changed since 1901

year they change
year they change
1901 Wrong balls not caught in flight count as hits until the hit has two hits
1903 The American League adopts the rules of the offending ball
1917 Alien deliveries are banned, including spitballs
1917 The fact that a runner does not touch a base does not affect other runners
1926 The balls that bounce over the outer fence are even
1926 Balls hit over the fence are fair or foul based on where you leave the court
1953 Defensive intervention expanded to include all field players, not just catchers
1973 The designated hitter approved in the MLS
2014 Collisions in the home plate have been reduced by restrictions on runners and fishermen
2015 Manfred becomes commissioner
2016 Runners should try to touch the second base on the double play balls
2017 Deliberate walking emits a signal, no pitch is needed
2020 Ghost Runner has been approved for additional roles
2020 DH World approved for one season in NL
2020 Seven double heads indoor for one season
2020 Relief archers must face three archers
2022 The National League permanently adopts the designated hitter
2023 Defensive shifts are prohibited. Requirements for where players can play
2023 The stadium clock is 15 or 20 seconds long
2023 Bases expanded from 15 to 18 square inches

The biggest changes in the game were in the areas of expansion from 16 to 30 teams between 1961 and 1997, and technology with first radio and then television, then cable television bringing more games into homes than ever before. The first World Championship Night wasn’t held until 1971, but now the daytime game is the exception to the rule. Post-season matches are scheduled in particular at “prime time” for television audiences.

Technology made another major change to the game, but not to the rules of play themselves, with the introduction of instant replay reviews in 2008. First, home runs could be reviewed, then the reviews were expanded to cover almost every game except for ball and hits recall. Technology will change that, too, but the rules of play have remained the same.

Then Rob Manfred came up with ideas to make the game even better. It all started with tweaking the rules for runners who slide home or cut a double game. But more importantly for Manfred, the pace of the game was too slow, which wasn’t good for TV, which in turn hampered earnings. According to Manfred, there was no point in playing the games, if the owners were not making money.

Once owners cashed their checks from regional sports networks and the stadium’s beer franchises closed, additional rounds were just a waste of time. The Covid pandemic has given him the excuse he needs to get into the tried-and-true “ghost runner” rule in small leagues, with the exception of all games that have gone on for multiple additional rounds. If he has to destroy 150 years of tradition by changing the scoring rules to get rid of nonprofit baseball, so be it. While the rule was tolerated by fans in the 2020 Covid season, it was so widely unpopular that the MLB twice brought it back ‘one more season’ under the guise of player health and safety. In fact, motivation can be found by following money.

The commissioner brought seven double-headers, shortening the season to 60 games in 2020, in which many matches could have been played. This was “compensated” according to the narrative, by increasing the number of qualifying teams to 16. Indeed, the losses were compensated for in profits, but the losses in salaries and lost matches were not compensated.

While the players’ union filed a complaint to shorten the season, cutting their salaries in the process, that was withdrawn as a final concession under threat of canceling part of the 2022 season, which the owners seemed more than willing to do in the bargaining. , as long as the post-season games are played for big money.

Also adopted as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, a “competition commission” set up to seal any changes to the rules of play that the commissioner wants to implement has been set up. The committee consists of four members representing the players, one of whom is the referee, and six appointed by the board itself.

It did not take long for the new commission to take effect, Because they adopted the court clock, bans on defensive shifts that tell teams where their players should stand on the field, larger bases, and restrictions on throwing bowlers to first base to keep runners close. The players unanimously opposed the pitch clock and the change of rules, but that didn’t matter. All the commissar’s men stood together and applied the rules.

Perhaps the biggest change of all in the new CBA was the creation of the committee itself, because that allowed Manfred to make fundamental changes to the game.

Players are not without blame for changes to the rules of play. They went to the side of the ghost runner every time a problem arose, and waived the competition commission form. Previously, they could at least oppose any rule changes and block them for a year.

Whether the changes are good or bad is a matter of opinion. But the result is that the rules of baseball have undergone more significant rule changes under this commissioner than they have in the past 100 years of Major League Baseball.