Major League Baseball made several notable improvements last season, but forget all that. Those MLB rule changes have been reversed and several other practices were exposed as lies. Prepare for 2021.
Prepare for the intense sports debate that only sibling rivalry can conjure. Seesaw Sports, where Dan Salem and Todd Salem throw down on the NFL, MLB, NBA and more. Only on BuzzChomp. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
The 2021 MLB season is set to begin on April 1. For a while, that statement was up in the air. We are now aware that much of what we we loved about baseball is no longer true. Two lies were exposed, while two MLB rule changes were reversed. The National League will not have use of the designated hitter this season. For a while, that too was up in the air. There was a chance that we would see expanded playoffs, similar to what took place in 2020. That is not the case, but for a while, it was up in the air. Its as if the league wants to annoy fans.
Leaving so many important facets unknown with just months or weeks remaining before the season is not something that should even happen in a fantasy baseball league, let alone in the Majors. As the owners and players bargain for what each side wants, it becomes increasingly clear that Major League Baseball isn’t as precious as everyone made it out to be.
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The pandemic did a lot to expose this truth. “Sacred” rules and precedents can be changed at the drop of a hat when they need to be out of necessity. But they can also be changed or changed back at the whims of collective bargaining, or lack thereof. Baseball isn’t alone. All the sports leagues were given a rude awakening but one that exposed how flimsy these things are to begin with. If something in a certain season is unlike any other, okay. It doesn’t really end up mattering.
That’s what makes the upcoming discussions between owners and players to sign a new agreement so frustrating. A lot of these die-on-the-hill issues don’t matter. We know it will be super contentious anyway and could result in a lockout or strike. Things got heated and ugly last season when they were just trying to agree on what it meant to prorate a salary. Now they have to agree to a full-on collective bargaining agreement.
MLB Rule Changes Reversed and Lies Exposed:
- Using a Designated Hitter (DH) in the National League
- Expanded Playoffs
- League Revenue Loss
- Player Control
1) No more DH in the National League
Todd Salem: We just went through an entire full year of realizing that things don’t really have as much of an impact as we thought. The lack of a DH in the National League seemed so important to the legacy of the league, until it was instituted on a whim for unclear reasons and then pulled at the last minute this offseason when teams were literally in the middle of deciding which players they should sign.
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Dan Salem: Just when we thought we’d finally won an easy battle, the decision gets reversed and history is rewritten. No one enjoys watching pitchers at the plate. I’d argue that 99% of pitchers don’t even enjoy having to bat. Add in the fact that it’s ridiculous for the two leagues to play by different rules, considering it’s all one big league, and this is a crying shame. No matter how hard MLB tries, we are not forgetting that 2020 happened. Hell, Dodgers fans sure don’t want to forget their team won the World Series. What once was growth amid adversity is now an afterthought to history.
2) No more Expanded Playoffs
Todd Salem: Expanding the playoffs would change the entire fabric of the sport. Yet it was added in the middle of a season, and the best team still won the World Series. It was then repealed, and the best team(s) may end up losing in the first round anyway because baseball is fluky in small samples.
Dan Salem: All leagues expand their playoffs eventually. The NFL just did it and it was a huge success. MLB did it last year and it was awesome when so many teams were in the hunt so late in the year. Sure, many teams wrapped up births much earlier, but the fun factor was higher. Also, the disparity between the best and worst team didn’t disappear because of more playoff teams. If anything, it amplified the advantage for the team or two that dominated all season long. So why would you make the sport suddenly less fun? This seems like a change waiting to once again happen in July. Just wait, they will re-expand the playoffs after the All-star break.
3) MLB Revenue Loss is a Lie
Todd Salem: MLB owners claim poor when they don’t make as much money as projected. Do they think we’re stupid? Making less than projected is not the same as losing that amount. Everyone for the foreseeable future is going to side with players in this discussion. Fans are no longer stupid enough to side with owners, even coming off pandemic closures.
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Dan Salem: Yes, the owners do think we are stupid. And those who don’t think we are stupid instead believe us to be indifferent enough not to notice. Are they wrong? Yes, because they underestimate how much we love our players. They are what make the sport fun and worth watching, not the owners or a team’s colors. While many fans will watch their team no matter who is playing for them, an equal number will follow their favorite player around the league. We all know MLB is raking in the money and no one cares if they make a little less. Boo hoo. We can barely hear your tiny violin.
4) Player Control is a Lie
Todd Salem: Everything was big and important until it wasn’t. This is the big and important issue of 2021, especially after Seattle CEO Kevin Mather was caught admitting that he was going to manipulate the service time of his best prospects. The players knew this was being done, but getting a CEO on tape admitting it adds to the fire. Mather resigned from his post, but the players will still be coming for blood in this negotiation.
Dan Salem: This one is a real shame, or so we all thought. I don’t care for the manipulation of service time. This only hurts the players, yet I can’t tell if it’s causing as much damage as everyone wants to believe. Are teams swindling young players out of money they should be earning? That needs to stop. Or is playing time getting worked so a rookie year is well-placed, rather than immediate? I need more information. Hopefully it won’t cause a strike.
Todd Salem: Let’s see if the arbitration and service time system remains big and important enough for the players to strike to get it changed. If not, we’ll find out it wasn’t as impactful as we thought it was, just like everything else. And the owners would win another negotiation, like they always do.
Dan Salem: Let’s make one thing clear, the “MLB rule changes” that Baseball instituted last season should not have been repealed. Changing the rules were done to make the game more fun when times were tough. I hate to break it to everyone, but times are still tough. Making baseball less fun again is a bad idea. But since the owners always win negotiations and these rules have already been changed, we must smile and nod or stop watching. There is no winning for players and fans, merely losing less ground. This is because team owners control the business. Without them the game itself disappears, or the major league players all get replaced by minor leaguers who are currently watching their teams disappear.
Meet our Writers:
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Co-owner of BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his old-school comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Staff Writer and Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a fantasy football and fantasy baseball Staff Writer for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter or comment below for his unfiltered opinions.
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