4 Baseball Rules That Could Ruin The MLB

4 Baseball Rules That Could Make Or Break The MLB

Over the past 10 years, there has been a decline in attendance for Major League Baseball (MLB). With the rise of NFL and NBA, commissioner Rod Manfred wants to bring more people to the stands.

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While many fans love the game of baseball, hence the moniker "America's national pastime," over the past few years, the number of fans going to games has decreased rapidly. With new stadiums, like Marlins Park, sitting empty for most of their home games, is there anything baseball can do to save itself? Commissioner Rob Manfred wants to speed up the pace of the game to entice a younger audience, and someone who has been very vocal about these issues is former Oakland Athletic's pitcher and co-host of the Starting 9 podcast, Dallas Braden (yes, the same one who, on May 9th, 2010, threw a perfect game). When the opportunity presented itself to interview Mr. Braden about his thoughts on some of the new rules changes, like always, he didn't hold anything back.

1. 3-batter minimum will ruin years of scouting in the MLB

A rule that has been thrown around that could be a part of the game as soon as 2020 is the 3-batter minimum, which states that any pitcher, whether he starts or comes in as a reliever, barring injury, must pitch to at least 3 batters in a game. The hope of this is that it will eliminate pitchers who are specialized to pitch to one batter and then head to the showers. When asked, Dallas Braden said, "We're taking strategy away from the game, that's how the rosters are built, that's why a team recruits a guy who can blow 98, and shut down any lefty in the game."

He also felt very strongly about the fact that these pitchers have been built up since around 12 or 13-years-old to throw fast and strike out batters. "My point is changing it right now will impact years of scouting and organization grooming of minor league players in an organization." While, in theory, this rule change would speed up the game by eliminating about two to three mound visits a game, it could also change the way that game is played, from little leagues all the way to the major leagues.

2. With the universal designated hitter (DH), baseball won't have to play by two separate rules

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In the National League (NL), the pitcher has to hit unless he is taken out of the game, at which point the team can use a pinch hitter. In the American League (AL), they use a designated hitter (DH), who would hit for the pitcher but doesn't have to play in the field. Many fans, players, and analyzers across baseball would love the rule change and Dallas Braden is alongside them. "As we sit here today (April 9th, 2019), Jon Lester just went on the DL run, sliding into second base. That's a problem we don't want to see in today's game."

This also doesn't just reduce unnecessary injuries, but this could also add jobs for players who aren't able to make the 25 man roster. "This creates more offense and takes the bat out of [the pitcher's] hand and someone who is getting paid." Not just for the safety of pitchers, but the way the game is played, as Braden said, "we are the only professional sport under two separate rules, as well as a championship series under two separate rules." Whether you are a traditionalist or someone who likes to see change, this rule change can keep the safety of pitchers, as well as create jobs for players who otherwise wouldn't have them.

3. Extra inning rules used in Spring Training could be another way to destroy the great game of baseball

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If you traveled to Arizona or Florida for spring training, watched some games, and saw one go into extras, you may have noticed something different. Baseball tried a rule change, which would put a runner on second and have one out to speed up the game and not have games go into the 300th inning. Dallas Braden wasn't and isn't a fan of this possible run change. "Again you are fiddling with strategy. MLB loves their Hall of Fame and now you put an asterisk along with those numbers." As a former pitcher, Braden said that pitchers don't mind taking the ball up one with no one on base unless baseball has to manipulate their success rate. This rule has been used in little league, along with some high school games. The changes it has on the way the game is played doesn't have a place in professional baseball.

4. When given one rule change, Dallas Braden is all for speeding up the game

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When presented with the opportunity to make or change one rule in major league baseball, Dallas Braden was all for speeding up the game. "Regardless of what the name on the back of the jersey is, unless you make contact with the ball, get in the box, don't adjust your gloves. I understand wanting to adjust your gloves, but just back in the box." While baseball has a rule, where if a player doesn't get in the box when it comes to a superstar, like Aaron Judge, who is notoriously known for always adjusting his batting gloves, many umpires will be gunshy about actually making the call.

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The 19th Amendment Did Not Affect All Women

The fight for Voting Rights across the country is still a struggle.
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It’s a fact we’ve learned to regurgitate; in the year 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified. It prohibited any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on account of their gender. It's been hailed as the one of the greatest, if the not the greatest achievement for our country's women's rights movement.

What we don’t hear, is that two years after this amendment was passed, the Supreme Court ruled people of Japanese heritage were ineligible to become naturalized citizens -- a court found the same with Asian Indians in the following year. Not being able to become naturalized citizens, of course, affected what demographic of women could actually vote. In 1924, Native Americans were granted citizenship through the Indian Citizenship Act, but many states still passed laws preventing Native Americans from voting, for as late as the year 1957.

It wasn’t until 1943 that Chinese Americans were first permitted to become citizens, after the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed. For Filipinos, it wasn’t until 1946; for Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans, this did not come until 1952. In 1964, women of lower socio-economic status were faced with one less barrier to voting; there was now no tax to pay anywhere in the country in order to vote.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed abolishing legal barriers that prevented black Americans from voting. In 1990, polling centers were required to have accommodations for Americans with disabilities with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the year 2000, a federal court decided US Territories could not vote in presidential elections. The fight for Voting Rights across the country is still a struggle; in this month, alone, a federal appeals court struck down a voter ID law in North Carolina that was described as targeting African American voters "with almost surgical precision."

Why is it, then, that we accept the 19th Amendment as being the point when women were allowed the right to vote? It's presented in our history classes, our media, etc., as if the struggle to get women to vote ended with the passing of this amendment to the Constitution, which is simply not true. To state so would be to exclude essentially all women of color, among white women who couldn't afford to pay a poll tax.

Some could argue there’s exceptions to every fact and law in our history, but it’s not as if one specific group of women were an exception to this. Asian women, Native American women, black women, poor women and more were unable to exercise their right to vote, and their struggles have been arguably erased in the acceptation of the 19th Amendment being the point in which all women could vote.

When we use the word women, we assume it applies to women of every race and ethnicity; instead, it’s been reduced to mean only white women. When we say women earned the right to vote in 1920, we're whitewashing history. To be fair, we have no reason to not pause and think if this is a whitewashing of history, because of the pure lack of information on voting rights of marginalized and minority groups in our country.

Often, high school American history classes have been dubbed as being a history of "great white men." It's not hard to picture the only real segment of women's history taught in most history classes really only applies to that of "great white women." It shouldn’t be surprising that we’ve been conditioned to accept the notion that saying women got the right to vote in 1920 as appropriate, because of how our history is often taught to us.

Recently, with the recognition of white feminism becoming slowly more prevalent in our country's society, it’s important for us as a people to not portray women’s struggles as merely white women’s struggles. It's more than frustrating to see our politicians, socially-conscious celebrities, and other prominent figures speak as if the 19th Amendment was the end of women's struggle for voting rights. It's easy to accept the erasing of the history. After all, most people were taught a history that erased struggles of marginalized groups. It’s harder to try to write history back into a place it deserves to be. Women worked hard for the 19th Amendment to be ratified. It's time to recognize women that also worked hard for their own voting struggles, long after the 19th Amendment was ratified.

Cover Image Credit: Bio.

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As A Cardinals Fan, I Let Albert Pujols Go A LONG Time Ago

They say time heals all wounds, but is that the case with St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols?

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It's hard to properly encapsulate what Albert Pujols meant to the city of St. Louis. He's without a doubt in my mind, statistically, one of the greatest Cardinals players of all time right up there with names like Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. His list of accolades in a Cardinals uniform is borderline unbelievable: Rookie of the year in 2001, 9x All-Star (8 consecutive from 2003-2010), 3x MVP, 6x Silver Slugger and 2x Gold Glove winner. Not to mention, he was an integral piece of two World Series victories in 2006 and 2011. The recipe was right there to continue his career as a Cardinal and retire an immortalized legend, but things somehow took a turn for the worst after the 2011 World Series.

Pujols was up for free agency in 2012, and even though the city was celebrating its 11th World Series title (second-most of all time) but the future of the team was in the back of everyone's mind. For context, Cardinals Manager and 3x World Series Champion Tony La Rusa announced his retirement in early November, just days after the victory parade.

Nearly a month later, Pujols announces that he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a record-breaking 10-year, $254 million contract. To say Cardinals fans were perplexed and shocked is an understatement. What could the Angels offer that St. Louis couldn't aside from more money and better weather, especially coming off of a World Series win? Regardless, the Cardinals never seized on the opportunity to sign Pujols to a contract extension, a mistake they didn't want to repeat with newly-acquired superstar Paul Goldschmidt.

I think what hurt most about Pujols leaving St. Louis as he was a Cardinals-bred player through and through. He was drafted in the 13th round out of the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Cardinals before making his MLB debut in 2001. That's been the Cardinal manifesto for nearly the entire Modern Era: draft or acquire young Minor League talent, develop them before implementing them into the Major League system. It felt downright hurtful that Pujols would opt for the bright lights of Los Angeles over a city that had every intention of supporting him

But with most things, time passed and Pujols eventually became a peripheral point for Cardinals fans like myself who would briefly re-enter their lives on the occasional article or ESPN highlight. So when it was revealed that the Angels will be playing the Cardinals in June at Busch for the first time since Pujols left, he was suddenly back on every Cardinals fan's radar again.

So Angels and Cardinals media outlets were abuzz, prompting this interview with Graham Bensinger during Spring Training and the way Pujols frames the negotiations were really peculiar to me. He said he didn't feel truly wanted by the franchise, but we'll never know the whole truth unless we were actually there. I do know one thing though, every Cardinals fan wanted Pujols to be a Cardinal for life and he would have gone down as one of the greats without a doubt in anyone's mind. He spent his best years in St. Louis though and helped bring us two World Series' and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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