Major League baseball has put a big emphasis on pace of play in recent years in an effort to keep the casual fan engaged. MLB recently announced the changes that will go into play in 2018, with the main being that non-pitching-change mound visits by players and coaches will be limited to six per game.
Other changes include efforts to improve the replay process and limiting time between innings. Although speculated as a likely modification, a pitch clock will not be utilized, which is to the delight of Kenley Jansen.
It appears the league may also be discussing ways to raise the excitement level of games as well. According to Rich Eisen of Fox Sports Radio, there have been whispers throughout about a potential rule that would change the way baseball has been played since its inception over 100 years ago:
“There are some factions within Major League Baseball trying to improvement excitement of play in Major League Baseball. There is a rule that has been whispered, discussed and I am not familiar as to how close this would be to reality, but there are some who are discussing this. And here is the rule that I think would absolutely inflame traditionalists. … In the ninth inning, ninth inning only, not eighth inning, not seventh, not extras, ninth inning only, you are allowed to send up to the plate as your first three hitters, whoever you want.”
So in this scenario, even if your Nos. 3, 4, 5 hitters bat in the eighth inning, the manager has the ability to send them back up to the plate for the ninth if he chooses.
Eisen went on to add that MLB has not figured out how they would resume the batting order in extra innings if the teams were to tie the game, but that can be figured out if they were ever to actually get serious about this possibility.
Eisen also said he spoke with an MLB executive who would be in favor of making this change:
“No other sport has the best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of the game,” the executive said. “Imagine LeBron, Brady, Ronaldo watching from the sidelines.”
It is unlikely that this change is going to be made anytime soon, if ever, as many people within the sport presumably would be outraged if it were to happen.
But it would bring some more excitement to the game if, for example, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had to face New York Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez to close out a World Series game.
As opposed to the Yankees No, 7, 8 and 9 hitters. So the potential change is something to keep an eye on moving forward.