MLB’s Major Rule Changes: Better for the Game, or Worse?

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The ground crew preps the field of the St. Louis Cardinals. Courtesy of MCT Campus Service.

Connor Hajdasz, Soooo Ready for Baseball Season to Finally Start Already

With baseball just getting under way its time to discuss the new rules and changes in the MLB. The rules for baseball may seem simple and traditional, but the League does actually tweak them from time to time.  On top of the rule changes the league has proposed new  punishments for using HGH, steriods, or other performance enhancing drugs.

The rule changes are considered test runs as far as the home plate collision goes however the instant replay could possibly be permanent. The most plays that were missed last year were force outs and tag-up plays which well put them and the umpires under a microscope.  However the plays that are going to be non-reviewable are balks, fair/four trapped balls in the infield, infield fly rule, obstruction, interference, check swing and  neighborhood play at second base (according to ESPN.go.com).

The rule change causing a lot of debate is about home plate collisions. First, according to rule 7.13 of MLB, if the the runner changes paths to make contact with the catcher he is automatically called out regardless if the catcher has the ball or not.  Second, the catcher can not block the plate unless he has the ball, if in fact the catcher is blocking the plate without the ball the runner should be called safe.

There are new punishments for usage of HGH or steroids. The league has been on notice for the uses of these performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) since 2004 and they have obviously been an issue since then. The MLB has made the rules almost like a legal system with offenses; with the first offense being an 80 game suspension, second offense would be 162 games(which is equivalent to an entire season), and the third and final offense would be a ban from baseball for life. Also regardless of the offense, the player will be suspended from the postseason of that season.

This brings the question if the rules will affect players who are currently eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame.  Most fans assume that it will not affect the players hall of fame status. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were both eligible for the Hall of Fame this year. Which brings fans (inevitably) back to the Pete Rose deal. Pete Rose remains the all-time leading hitter in MLB history with 4,256. But he was banned from baseball for life on August 24, 1989 for betting on games when he was a manager. The question of why he is not eligible while players who have admitted or been caught using PEDs still are is age-old one. Did Rose’s gambling affect baseball at all?  If so, did it affect it in the same negative way that players with PEDs have?