CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Baseball is back, and once the games begin, there will be two very noticeable changes.
One you may love, the other you may hate.
Let’s start with the one you may love: the designated hitter in both leagues.
It's been almost 50 years since the American League adopted the rule. The National League never did. Until the pandemic changed literally everything in our lives, including one of the most debated issues in baseball.
”I like the idea of universal DH,” Terry Francona says. “Just because we’re in the National League so much. One-third of our games (20 out of 60). So I really like that.”
”This is going to be such a unique season for baseball that I think it’s an opportunity for us to potentially experiment with some of those rules,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said.
And of course, it keeps either Carlos Santana or Franmil Reyes in the lineup for 20 more games.
The other rule? I'm not a fan. Starting extra-innings with a man on second, to speed things up. Minor league baseball has been doing this for two years.
”I think it’s been a great rule in the minor leagues,” Antonetti says. “It does create some intrigue from the 10th inning on, and it has the additional benefit of not having a really extended game that could really attack the roster.”
”I think it would be exciting,” Francona says. “It would certainly be new. Does it carry over (to next season)? I have no idea. But I have no issue with anything they’re trying to do this year to make things work better.”
At the very least, it will spare teams from working well into the night, when they’re already cramming a shortened season in.
”Given the circumstances of our Major League team this year, and not having to deal with 17, 18, 19, 20 inning games, I’ll sleep better at night,” Antonetti says.