The big news in baseball this week, as much as there can be any big news during spring training, is that the intentional walk as we know it is no more. Now, the dugout can just signal an intentional walk and the pitcher will not have to throw pitches any more. The batter just gets first base.
This is not the first small rule change made by Commissioner Rob Manfred with the goal of speeding up play in baseball. He is less dedicated to this task than his ongoing vendetta against the Orioles, but only just.
If you watch a lot of baseball, you probably have your own ideas for what needs to be done to improve the game. Baseball is pretty good already, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
So what I’d like to know this week is:
If you could make one rules tweak to baseball, what would it be?
Make sure to tell us why you’ve picked that over anything else. What makes this particular topic get your goat more than others?
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For me, one of the most annoying things about baseball right now, and one that is most easily fixable, is instant replay. I don’t mind that it’s there, but baseball has managed to implement a system that takes all the worst parts of football’s instant replay. This is totally unnecessary.
All baseball really needs to do to fix instant replay is to add a fifth umpire to every crew and have one umpire each night as the designated replay official. Any time there’s a close play, that umpire checks it out and signals back down to the field.
This eliminates two big slowdowns in the process. There’s no more waiting around for a manager to signal whether he wants to challenge, and there’s no more of two umpires standing around wearing headsets while some joker in New York reviews unknown footage to make a decision with no accountability whatsoever.