So does the game need to change to be relative in today's society?
This year, there have been a few proposed rule changes. We'll highlight a few, and I'll give my own opinions.
1. Man on 2nd Base to start extra innings
This will apparently be taking place at the World Baseball Classic and some minor leagues. With this proposed change, extra innings would begin with a man on 2B for each team. It's meant to make run production easier and end an extra innings game sooner. This is one where the purist in me screams no way! It is reminiscent of college football starting at the 25 for overtime. If a team is going to win, they should produce all the facets needed to win, from getting on base to moving runners to knocking in runners. Games should be won organically without outside help.
2. Increasing the strike zone up to above the knee
This change would theoretically mean more action as the batter friendly strike zone would mean more hits, more runs, and more game action. I'm on the fence with this change. I've always been a proponent of the "pitch strikes and see what the hitter's got" mentality. Yet this favors hitters considerably and would negatively impact lots of good pitchers that make their living on the edges. I'm not sure introducing more action would speed the game up, so it might not jibe exactly with that initiative. I like a good pitching match, but I like slugfests too. Like I said, on the fence.
3. Intentional Walk signaled from the dugout
The dugout signal for intentional walk looks like it will make its debut this year. I don't have a problem with this change. Not because it will speed up the game, intentional walks are still pretty rare. I've just always thought it's dumb to throw 4 meaningless lobs when it's clear you're putting the guy on base. Purists have asked if not running the bases for homers would be next. To me that's a reward for the hitter to celebrate. I don't believe I've ever seen a passed ball or hit during an intentional walk lob. Plus, why put any undue strain on the pitcher. This rule I like.
Although baseball treasures its roots and history, some things are bound to change with the times. There were plenty of replay skeptics, but baseball has done a good job not making it intrusive. I'm not in favor of changes that would alter stats or the ability to compare players like shortening innings per game or games per season. Please comment on any changes you would implement.