I’m still not sure Major League Baseball is going to manage to finish its season (the Mets are the latest team with COVID postponements), and regardless, a 60-game season is going to lack the rhythm and ups and downs of a full season.
But I think MLB deserves credit for making a go of it. Baseball traditionalists, i.e., people who refuse to acknowledge that innovations in play over the years have made games stupefyingly long and that this is a problem, may hate the changes the MLB has adopted this year, but most of them are geared toward the worthy goal of making it through the season.
And I have to say, I don’t loathe any of them. I still haven’t watched an extra-inning game, so I haven’t experienced a runner automatically starting on second each inning, but if it brings a conclusion faster, why not? Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gimmicky, but in following a couple of double-headers on and off recently, I’ve found 14 innings of baseball is enough for a day. The universal DH? I’m with David Harsanyi, this is quite simply a boon to human progress. Relievers having to face three batters? Anything to limit the excessive, maddening practice of bringing in a reliever to face one batter is okay by me.
Don’t get me wrong, besides the DH, none of these changes were at the top of my list. I’m still an advocate of an unforgiving pitch clock, a ban on all mound visits, and a laser strike zone, but this year demonstrates you can make a lot of changes in the rules and it’s still baseball.