Baseball Hall of Famers Speak Out Against The Sport
You know your sport has issues when even its own Hall of Famers saythey can barely watch it. But that’s where baseball was — until 2023, when Rule Change Baseball arrived to change everything.
“It was tough watching the game,” Hall of Fame slugger Andre Dawson admitted last July in Cooperstown, surrounded by a significant number of baseball legends who felt just like he did.
But that was in the Before Times. Suddenly, Dawson found himself watching a sport with true rhythm again, where athleticism was valued again, where ground balls were actually hits again, where runners motored from first to third again. So suddenly, Andre Dawson was interested again.
“It makes the game a little bit more exciting,” Dawson said. “And it’s the best way, I think, to get the fan interest back. So that is starting to return. It’s a good sign – and you’re slowly starting to really enjoy the game again.”
Rule Change Baseball. We’ve experienced a full year of it now. So let’s just say this: These were the most important rule changes of modern times, possibly in any sport.
Sure, we still hear the grumbling from the holdouts who think baseball didn’t need fixing. But frankly, what sport were they watching? When the dead time in your sport has begun to overwhelm the action, it’s time to do something already.
Baseball did something. And one year in, it’s astounding to look back at how well it all worked.
The pitch clocks never stop ticking now — and the games no longer drag toward midnight and beyond.
The Shift, which overloaded one side of the infield and swallowed up hundreds of hits, is history now — and nobody misses those fly balls to right field that got caught by the third baseman (seriously).
Those pitchers can’t make 12 pickoff throws to first base anymore — and we just finished a season with more stolen bases per game than any year since 1997.
Rule Change Baseball. It has brought us back much of what we love most about this sport — but without getting gimmicky enough to where it felt, said one club official, like “you were creating a game show.”
“The game is faster now, and more athletic, and it drives forward with a momentum that maintains your attention,” said Morgan Sword, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations, whose department has overseen and driven these changes. “And because of that, I think the best elements of the game really shine.
Here we’ll lay out the dramatic contrast between the home-run-or-bust slog that baseball had become and the streamlined, back-to-the-future rendition these rule changes produced. As you ponder it, maybe you’ll have the same reaction as Theo Epstein, the onetime curse-busting team-builder in Boston and Chicago who is now a special consultant for MLB and working to restore the beauty of the game.
How, he wondered, had this sport veered so far off-course?
…And so on.