If it isn’t obvious, I was a little behind this week in compiling the FanPost Friday prompt responses (blame school, work, and Diablo III). We’re going to have to double time to get to the finish line this time, so without further ado...
This past weekend’s prompt was in regards to rule changes, and what you would do, if you were allowed to make any singular rule change. Naturally, getting only one means you have to focus on what’s most important to you as a faux-commissioner. So what did OTM mandate as the new rules?
First we’ll start with a set of FanPosts regarding roster sizes, and I’m lumping them together, not because they were the same, but because I think a middle ground between the two ideas can be reached, and result in an overall better rule.
The first FanPost in question is “If I could make one rule change...” by Walt in Maryland. Essentially, Maryland’s finest wants to do away with our current conception of September Call-ups. As currently constructed, all teams call up roughly 15 players (some less, for whatever reason: usually service time, I would assume), to both give young players a cup of coffee, and to also rest regular players in time for the playoffs (or to keep a player from having an injury in a relatively meaningless game, to protect them for next season).
Walt thinks this is silly, and I’m inclined to agree. OK, so he only thinks the 40-man Active Roster in September is silly (which is what I also agree with). It’s great to get a first look at prospects (without 40 man rosters, odds are we don’t get as comprehensive a look at players like Marco Hernandez, who can be important players next season) and it’s also great to rest important players for the more meaningful post-season games.
I don’t wish to summarize his proposal, so in his own words:
“Here's how it would work. Teams can carry up to 40 men on their roster in September, but they can only DRESS 25 for each game. This is exactly the approach used by the NHL, the NFL and the NBA.
To prevent a manager from dressing one starting pitcher and 11 relievers, we'd need more restrictions, however. I'd propose that teams be allowed to dress no more than 10 pitchers, at least three of whom are members of their starting rotation.”
Matt_Collins made a comment in the same FanPost that is worth viewing. His suggestion (with regards to roster restrictions) is that “if you undress a pitcher he can’t be added back to the active roster for five days.” This proposal would actually cause a manager to have to think, and that can only be good for the game of baseball.
Walt is not alone in our community in terms of changing the roster rules. Making his first FanPost (go him!), trespada vouches for expanding the “effective roster size” (as I am going to call it) from 21 to 24 players in his FanPost: “Random Roster Rule Ramblings”. The effective roster size is 21 because you would almost never use the 4 other starting pitchers in the rotation (barring a worst case scenario). By expanding by 3 players, you give managers more to work with. The MLBPA is happy, the fans are happy, and agents are happy. The biggest obstacle here would be the owners, who may not be keen on paying more money throughout the regular season for pro-rated major league contracts.
As a result of this expansion, there would be ninety more jobs in Major League Baseball throughout the year, and you’d be seeing players like Robby Scott and Sam Travis potentially having bigger roles on this year’s Red Sox.
In a change from the major changes to the core rules of the game, BlackWilson suggests something completely different, that is no less valuable, or beneficial to the game. In “Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules...”, he suggests something that seems pretty simple on the surface: give kids the balls that players dribble foul or that end up being the last out of an inning.
In many cases, this is what happens, many players go out of their way to ensure a kid gets the ball, and this is beneficial for one key reason: it cultivates a love of the sport. Imagine, being an 8 year-old kid at your first major league game. You are given a ball that touched Dustin Pedroia’s bat. That ball is instantly going to be one of your favorite possessions. By cultivating a child’s love of the sport, you are potentially bringing a new player to Major League Baseball down the line, or at the very least, ensuring they end up a lifelong fan of America’s Past-time.
I recommend a read, because BlackWilson experienced this feeling first-hand, and is a much more credible authority on that matter.
On to Lansdowne Street has a slightly outside the box suggestion in his piece: “Why Do Intentional Walks Seem Redundant? Blame the Catcher”. Rather than suggest a rule change, or a non-serious issue, he suggests that a rule be enforced. The 2015 MLB rule book (the only one I have available to me at the time of this article) says it is actually rule 5.02 a, but either way, the intent of OtLS isn’t lost on me.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the new intentional walk rules, and I imagine most of you reading this are in agreement. I’m no baseball purist by any means, but taking out any factor of risk is just crappy, and it has other potential cascading effects.
By enforcing this rule (usually the umpire just lets the catcher illegally slide out of the box prematurely), you’d be ensuring more chaos in the game, and making an intentional walk a little less of a certainty. This is especially true when a bad ball hitter is the player getting intentionally walked, and it could also give rise to a new skill set, hitting slower intentional walk pitches that have to be lobbed in.
tomisphere, one of the most prolific current FanPosters on OTM, chimed in this time, with his take: “My rule change would hopefully reduce the chance of injury”. Not afraid to make a controversial statement, he declares that if a broken bat is put into play (accidental or not), and it gets close to interfering with an opposing fielder, then the batter shall be called out.
This opens up a can of worms, that I’m not sure I entirely agree with. The instances where it would happen would be rare, but can you imagine a key game being decided by a broken bat out that would have been a single otherwise? Or a rally ending because Aroldis Chapman jammed one of our batters, and caused a broken bat? I think it would cause a lot of outrage.
I would amend that if the above situation happens, you instantly call the ball dead (think of it like a let in tennis, even if the ball lands fair, it interferes with the player’s perception of the ball), and bring the ball back without charging a ball or a strike. While this might prolong games by an extra minute or two in a game with a lot of broken bats, it achieves the desired (and admirable) goal of keeping players safe.
Our last entry is a more humorous one, and I saved it for last for this very reason. Scarecrow13 submits another good read, this one titled “To Protect a National Treasure”.
I won’t ruin all the fun, but he wants to protect a certain Andrew Benintendi’s glorious mane for future generations to enjoy, and this is a beat we can all dance to.
He suggests that we the fans get to choose how the fate of his hair is decided, but I’m not sure that we are actually ready for this kind of power. When you crowd-source some things, like projects, you get pretty neat results. But if you try to crowd-source something too specific, you end up with weirder ones. I fear a situation where there are too many cooks to a broth, and Benintendi loses all his hair from stress of dealing with our constant demands to regrow his hair or turn it into an afro, or whatever our whim is that particular day.
And that, truly, would be a loss.
Thank you, everyone, for participating in FanPost Friday, next week, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled hours (knock on wood). Have a great week!