After weeks of negotiations, Rob Manfred will implement an MLB season which could feature some quirky rule changes.
The MLBPA is expected to approve several rule chances along with some COVID-19 safety regulations paired with a 60-game season that will start on July 24. Alas, after all the bargaining — or lack thereof — we will hopefully have baseball.
The after-effects of this failure to make the appropriate concessions could play a major role in CBA negotiations in 2021 and beyond, but at least baseball fans get a distraction for several months. But will the game look the same?
The 2020 MLB season could enact some unfamiliar rule changes that baseball fans will have to adjust to.
The most notable change will be a DH in the National League, which had previously been suggested as a potential alteration in the years to come. While watching pitchers at the plate is an enjoyable activity for the opposing team’s fans, they’re also an automatic out. Adding a designated hitter increases the competition, and MLB needs more fanfare at this juncture.
Extra innings will also look much different as well, with a runner starting at second base in the 10th frame. While some thought players would embrace the idea of ties, MLB has opted instead to embrace all forms of the walk-off, similar to the NHL switching to 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts in their last CBA discussions.
The consistent complaints about pace-of-play aren’t addressed here, as they’ll likely be mentioned in the next official CBA discussions. Instead, the owners emphasized safety precautions and minor changes to go along with the unfamiliar territory of a 60-game season.
Along with potentially allowing teams to resume games that were postponed before the fifth inning due to schedule constraints, MLB will also be moving its trade deadline due to the late start date.
Should the players accept these changes — and most signs point towards them doing so in the later afternoon hours as to avoid a complete disaster — Major League Baseball will look inconsistent to years past, and perhaps that’s for the better.