It’s almost time for a new season, so of course, it’s time for brand-new (or in some cases, revisited) terrible rule changes that are being attempted in the minor leagues before being considered for the majors.
In the past we’ve seen shortened double-headers, and starting a runner on second base in extra innings, both of which will be sticking around for the 2021 season, but why stop there. Increasing the size of bases by three inches? Sure! Robot umpires? Well, okay, maybe, why not? Banning the shift?
Banning the shift?
Seems like they’re trying out a requirement of having four infielders remaining in the infield, or at least in proximity to the infield dirt. But yeah, seems like an opposition to the shift runs deep with baseball’s overlords. Some people love the shift, others hate it, but who doesn’t love to see a hitter beat it?
Guess we might have to kiss it goodbye if it goes well in the minors.
- Here’s a quick overview of the new rules they’re trying out.
- John Romano points out there are plenty of ways to “fix” the game that have nothing to do with defensive shifts or plate size.
- Rob Manfred has the power to make these changes, writes Evan Drellich, but how will he use it? (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Is it possible to overhype the future of the MLB? When it comes to Soto, Tatis, and Acuña, Mike Petriello says no hype is enough hype.
- On that note, Buster Olney introduces us to “Crush Quotient” a stat devised entirely to assess the awesomeness of Juan Soto.
- Is it Juan Soto weekend online? Yup! Jay Jaffe tracks the young superstar’s path all the way to Cooperstown.
- In delightfully weird spring training news, Luis Guillorme managed a 12-minute 22-pitch at-bat, writes Zachary Silver.
- I’m so delighted by this at-bat I’m also going to include a different article about it written by Katherine Acquavella.
- If you don’t want to read an article about it, you can watch the whole thing here.
- RJ McDaniel gives us a tremendous ode to the angry long-necked misers of the outfield: Canadian geese.
- Want to properly promote baseball? Start with Francisco Lindor! This feature by Tom Verducci is wonderful, as is Lindor.
- As the Texas Rangers prepare for a potential full house on Opening Day, Evan Grant shares the story of Shirley Kost, a Rangers superfan who had to skip her traditional spring training routine of cookies and hugs because of COVID-19 recovery.
- Trevor Bauer got a citation from MLB for flashing his own brand logo in a game. Report by Jason Wilson.
- Speaking of Bauer, David Schoenfield tries to determine how the new aces of several teams might fare in the coming season.
- Cardinals radio voice Mike Shannon survived COVID and is coming back for a 50th season in the booth, writes Rick Hummel.
- The Pitching Ninja podcast is a lot of fun, and you can enjoy former Cub Yu Darvish explain his 11 (ELEVEN!!!) different pitches.
- Meet the man who trademarked the Cleveland Spiders name... just in case. James Wagner talks to Arlen Love.
- Susan Slusser looks at how San Francisco Giants fans (and season ticket holders) can get themselves to a game this season.
- Jayson Jenks and Rustin Dodd bring us the most glorious reflection on Zack Greinke as told by the catchers he’s worked with over the years. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Will Leitch assesses what the one major goal for all 30 teams should be.
- Ever wonder what a game without umpires would look like? Enjoy this thread.
The Giants and Cleveland agreed to let the Giants bat while they're ahead in the bottom of the ninth. Umpires disagreed and went home. They're playing without umpires.— Jesse Thorn (@JesseThorn) March 13, 2021
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.