Opening day for the Major League Baseball (MLB) season is approaching on April 5.
In an attempt to speed games, the MLB made a rule that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box at all times. The rule will be enforced starting on May 1 and batters will be fined $500 for each violation.
The rule does not appeal to some players, however. David Ortiz is entering his 19th year in the MLB, 466 career home runs and a .285 career hitter, according to baseball-reference.com. He knows a thing or two about hitting, and he voiced his opinion about this new rule.
Ortiz told the Boston Herald, “When you come out of the box, you’re thinking about what the (pitcher) is trying to do.” Ortiz then added, “I see one pitch, I come out and I think what is this guy going to do on the next pitch. If you force a hitter to do that, 70 percent you are out, because you have no time to think.”
The MLB has their mind in the right place, in an attempt to speed up a game that is starting to lose popularity in the United States. According to the baseball-almanac.com, as of 2013, the World Series for baseball has not reached 20 million viewers since 2005, opposed to never having below 24 million in 1975-1990.
Is this really going to speed up the game though? Even if it does, will it affect the popularity? I honestly don’t think this new rule is going to make baseball any more popular. To me, baseball has never been mistaken for a fast-paced game. No matter what rules you establish, I truly do not believe it will gain any more viewers.
The NBA is as popular as ever, and that season lasts into June. Sept. 10 kicks off the NFL season which is around playoff time for the MLB.
Football is the most popular sport in America, and unless offenses are running a “hurry up” offense where the offensive team speeds up the pace of the game in order to keep the defense on their heels, that is not a fast-paced game either. According to the Wall Street Journal, the amount of time the football is actually in play is around 11 minutes, where the average game is over three hours.
To me, this new rule just messes with the players. There are already videos of players in Spring Training accidentally leaving the batter’s box after a pitch, and then scurrying back into the box in order to get used to what they have to do in the regular season.
I don’t hate baseball. I played it at a junior college level, but it just doesn’t appeal to the new generation like it used to. Another factor may be people love to watch talent, specifically hitting. The best hitters only get to bat one out of nine times.
As many times as you watch the best hitter in a team’s lineup, you also have to watch subpar players. It has always been this way, but with emerging sports such as football, all the talented skill players always have the ball and same with the NBA.
The MLB needs to figure out a way to increase their ratings, but it is too early to tell whether or not this rule will help.