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More thoughts on potential MLB rule changes

Minor League Baseball is acting as the “guinea pig” for the big leagues

2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Over the last few seasons, Major League Baseball has made it clear that they want to speed up the game. Whether it’s the pitcher taking too much time in between pitches, or a team coming out for too many mound visits, there’s always something that the league is looking to improve on. The pace-of-play rules are mostly instituted to reel in the younger generation of fans who may have lost interest, or have never been interested in the game at any time. The league believes if they can eliminate the sluggishness, more people will watch.

Changes are normally demoed in the minor leagues before they’re implemented at the highest level. For example, during the 2019 season, MiLB had a three-batter minimum for its pitchers in Double-A and Triple-A. It was put in action in order to prevent teams from changing their pitcher multiple times in an inning because of how long it took. Minor-league teams also started extra innings with a runner on second base in order to end games faster, as well as limited the amount of mound visits a team can exercise. When new rules are proposed and applied into the minor leagues, it most likely means that Major League Baseball is interested in enforcing it soon.

After a successful minor-league showing of the three-batter minimum, it will be enforced during the 2020 major league season and beyond. With that and other changes coming up through the minors, it makes fans wonder about what’s next.

One drastic change that the Atlantic League introduced was the use of robotic umpires. Apparently, it went well and caused no controversy. Could it make its way to the big leagues? It’s a real possibility as automated strike zones were also used in the Arizona Fall League. It’s tough to say whether or not these rules and potential changes will have considerable impact on the game, but one thing is for sure, the league will continue their attempt to attract younger viewers.

In comparing MLB to the NFL as they both undergo changes, you can see similarities. For instance, many football fans are frustrated with the current overtime rules that are in place, as they believe both teams should get the opportunity to possess the ball—even if one side allows a touchdown.

The college football rule has been brought up in favor by fans, as it offers that opportunity for both teams. If the NFL were to change their overtime to the college rule, it would be just like how MLB uses MiLB as their test. It’s pretty interesting to see how baseball fans want the game to speed up with pace-of-play rules, while football fans want it to be slowed down in regards to overtime rules.

Lower-level leagues and teams not only provide us future players for our favorite franchises, but they also help develop the game of baseball as a whole. If MLB wants to test out a rule change, they use MiLB as their experiment. Same goes for the NFL and CFB in a way.