MLB and MLBPA Agreed on 2021 Rules

These two sides aren’t going to agree on anything transformative with the CBA looming but certain realities can’t be ignored, even by these two selfish and unrelenting groups of human beings.

COVID spawned several changes to baseball last year and a couple of those will be making a return visit, while others step back to the sidelines waiting for the CBA to bring permanency.

7 Inning Double Headers

Well, they did it last year and the reasoning is steeped in trying to limit the stress on pitching staffs and assumes an increased volume of double headers due to COVID related postponements.

If I’m honest, I went into this in 2020 absolutely hating the idea, and came out of it much less phased by it. I still think it’s weird, but I have to admit, it was pretty cool being able to watch two ball games in less than 8 hours.

MLB already has an unbalanced schedule, meaning the Giants, even when everything is normal will still play a different mix of competition than the Pirates. What I’m getting at here is they have experience with not all schedules being created equal so in that regard this is nothing special. I’d also suspect (and kinda pray) that by July we’ll be through most of this so that it isn’t much of an issue.

Ghost Runner in Extras

Yup, this one is back too. I hate it.

I tried not to, I even allowed myself to enjoy it last season because it was a weird/special/insane season already, so what was one more thing.

Talking to younger fans though, man, by in large do they love this. It almost guarantees action or at the very least stress, but I don’t think it’s had the effect the league was hoping for which was shortening the games. I think we forgot we were making scoring a run more likely for both clubs, but it is what it is.

No DH in the NL

Yeah, but it’s a temporary reprieve. If you love National League baseball, enjoy it this season, because I see no way the DH avoids becoming universal after the CBA. Everybody on both sides are in favor of it and only not wanting to give things for free prevented it happening right now.

The funny thing is, of all the things MLB is doing to reportedly try to speed up the game, it would seem to me the DH will undo.

Is That it?

Maybe. We haven’t seen the actual agreement yet. Last time the league slipped in power for Rob Manfred that directly led to the 60 game season. The players are wary and its highly unlikely they allow something like that to happen again. So if they have a signed agreement I don’t expect to find out there are poison pills built in that trigger the league unilaterally making decisions on things that alter the course of the season.

I’d also say, the league won’t want to give up on the extended playoffs. They’ve already got an agreement in place with networks, so it’s hard to fathom they just shrug and walk away from it. That said, they quite literally can’t do it without the players agreeing. Don’t be shocked if they still talk about this one.

I think this is the last thing that had to happen before the season, and one thing I’m very interested in is seeing how, with COVID, they’ll handle call ups. There is no protocol in any league that would for instance have you say on Wednesday morning a guy who is in Indianapolis needs to get on a plane and be in Pittsburgh to be in a game by 7:05. Nothing about that scenario jives with any protocol even we non-athletes are living under, so I’m curious how this is dealt with. Taxi squads have been around for a long time but you can’t do that with guys who are still developing and need to play.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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