It’s a fact. Baseball games have been getting longer and longer, without really changing much up. Is it any wonder attendance numbers have been steadily declining for years? To combat the dropping reputation of the sport, the MLB has announced that there will be a sweeping change of rules, set to go into effect by next year.
The first of the changes is that there will be eleven players allowed on the field instead of the current nine, with the MLB claiming more players on the field leads to a more interesting viewing experience. Next, the amount of innings will be chopped in half, going from nine down to four. Analysts predict this will allow more plays to be made per inning without the tedium of past systems. The amount of strikes has been increased to four as well, to allow for more action. Additionally, innings will be called quarters.
Many important revisions to how the game is played have been made, too. According to MLB spokesperson Diana Frost: “Three bases is a lot to follow. To make the game more appealing to modern audiences, we have decreased the amount down to one, placed at the far end of the field.” To accommodate the decreased amount of bases, outs have been made less punishing. Instead of players returning to the dugout after getting out, the team will regroup and begin playing toward the final base (renamed the end-zone) where the player got out or was ‘downed.’
Frost goes on to explain alterations to player roles as well. “With so much changing how you play the game, of course the positions are going to change as well. Pitchers will be even more important now, as they will determine plays during the group huddles. Batters and fielders will have more diverse rolls too. They will be called linemen from now on, and will get to run all over the field.”
In a final – and very controversial – change, the offensive team will no longer use bats. Instead, they will rely on the pitcher throwing them the ball and taking it to the end-zone to score in what is being called a ‘touchdown’. Frost’s comments on their removal have not inspired much confidence in fans, with her saying: “It’s time to stop living in the past. No one wants to see people hitting a ball around with a stick like cavemen! The numbers have shown it, baseball isn’t what it once was. All we aim to do is increase the sport’s relevance again. That is all.”
Finally, official baseball has been converted to a contact sport. The MLB has long sought ways to liven up matches, and according to our sources, fans have responded positively to the increase in violence. It is still unclear how these new rules will affect the popularity of the sport, but analysts seem hopeful.