Major League Baseball is contemplating going straight to the Bad Place:
Major League Baseball and its union have had substantive discussions in recent days over a series of proposals, among the most drastic proposed changes in years, that could bring significant rule changes to the sport in 2019 and beyond, according to two sources familiar with those talks. The discussions have included both on-field rule changes, pushed by Commissioner Rob Manfred, and proposals from the union to improve competitive balance.
The specific rule-change proposals, first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by a person familiar with the discussions, include:
- The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League, making the DH universal across both leagues.
- A rule requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters, except in the case of injury or when finishing an inning.
- The expansion of rosters from 25 to 26 players, with a maximum of 12 pitchers.
- A reduction in mound visits from six to five.
- A rule, which would be tested in spring training and the All-Star Game, in which each half-inning in extra innings would begin with a runner on second base.
Of all the proposed changes, the universal DH arguably would be the most significant to the game on the field. Since 1973, baseball has operated with different rules for the National and American Leagues — with pitchers hitting in the former, but not the latter — and necessitating shifting rules and roster manipulation for interleague and World Series games.
Just, no. In the immortal words of Crash Davis, "I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter."