What You’ll See At A Baseball Game in 2030

Baseball is called America’s National Pastime. That’s not true at all in the 2020s. Football is clearly the most popular sport in the country. But folks still love baseball. Are there enough of them? Maybe some rules changes will be needed to freshen the game for a new generation of fans.

The game has always evolved. If you could go back to the 1880s, baseball would seem similar, but game action would be remarkably different. Many of the key rules would be different, like the foulr strikes and how many balls for a walk, and so on.

MLB is considering many rules changes to enhance the sport, and it should. By 2030, I think the game of baseball will be quite a bit different from what some people grew up on.

Why MLB Should Make Sweeping Rules Changes

There are a few reasons why some people believe that baseball should change its rules to be more popular:

  1. Attracting new fans: In today’s competitive entertainment landscape, sports leagues are seeking ways to attract new fans and stay relevant. By making changes to the rules, baseball could potentially appeal to younger audiences who may be more accustomed to faster-paced sports or who have different expectations for entertainment.
  2. Increasing revenue: MLB generates much of its revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, broadcast rights, and sponsorships. By making changes to the rules, baseball could potentially increase its popularity and appeal to more advertisers and sponsors. The money is crucial, folks.
  3. Improving pace of play: One of the most common criticisms of baseball is that it can be slow-paced and uneventful, which can make it less exciting for some viewers. By making changes to the rules, baseball could potentially speed up the pace of play and create more exciting and engaging games.
  4. Enhancing competitive balance: Some changes to the rules, such as expanding the playoffs or introducing new penalties for teams that exceed certain spending limits, could potentially improve competitive balance and make the sport more compelling for fans.

It’s important to note that any rule changes in Major League Baseball would likely be subject to ongoing debate and discussion, and could have both positive and negative impacts on the sport. Ultimately, the decision to change the rules should be based on a careful consideration of the costs and benefits, as well as the potential impact on the sport’s traditions and values.

But changes are coming, my friends. Lots of changes.

Rule Changes Coming to Major League Baseball by 2030

Here are a few potential rule changes that have been discussed in recent years:

  1. Automated strike zone: One of the most significant potential changes to baseball could be the implementation of an automated strike zone, which would use technology to determine whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. This could eliminate some of the controversy surrounding umpire calls and ensure greater consistency across games. A playoff game in 2022 saw a home plate umpire miss 27 ball/strike calls. With the television camera showing everyone the strike zone, it’s only a matter of time before “robot umps” are added to the game.
  2. Expansion of playoffs: There has been some discussion about expanding the playoff format to include more teams, which could increase excitement and revenue for the league. However, some have argued that this could dilute the quality of the postseason and create logistical challenges.
  3. Time limits: Some have suggested implementing time limits for games to speed up the pace of play and make the sport more appealing to younger audiences. However, others argue that this would fundamentally change the nature of the game and detract from its strategic and traditional elements.
  4. Increased use of video replay: The use of video replay to review close calls has become more common in recent years, but there has been some discussion about expanding the scope of replay to include other types of calls, such as balls and strikes.
  5. Changes to extra innings: Some have suggested implementing new rules for extra innings to prevent games from dragging on too long. For example, the use of a “runner on second” rule in extra innings has been tested in some minor league games, where a runner is automatically placed on second base at the start of each inning to increase the likelihood of scoring.
  6. Larger bases: This has been attempted in some professional leagues to encourage more stolen base attempts.
  7. Pitch clock: The pitch clock has been used on a trial basis in many minor leagues. It’s only a matter of time before a 20-second clock is instituted in the major leagues. This change will make the game move along more like it used to before 1985.
  8. Free substitution: Would MLB allow teams to use a few free substitutions each game, to liven the strategy and allow rosters to be more effective? I’m not sure, but some have floated this idea.

MLB will add a pitch clock in 2023, and the commissioner also recently announced that the bases will be made larger (as they were in some minor leagues in 2022). Those two changes will alter strategy at the major league level.

Also, MLB is finally going to do something about defensive strategy by banning the shift starting with the 2023 season. All infielders will be required to have both feet on the dirt, and two players must be on either side of second base. This will certainly increase offense some, though it remains to be seen how much.

I suspect the larger bases will have a much bigger increase on run-scoring than many people think, and the banning of the shift won’t impact offense quite as much as observers think it will.

Ultimately, any rule changes in baseball will likely be subject to ongoing debate and discussion among fans, players, and other stakeholders, and may evolve over time as the sport continues to evolve and adapt to changing market conditions and preferences.