With the season fast approaching, it is probably the best time to dig a bit deeper into the 2021 MLB rumors, but this time, involving the rules and how it affects the upcoming campaign. There were plenty of opinions on the 2020 changes, but we managed to get a season, albeit shortened, and I’m sure the Dodgers won’t complain either way.
2021 MLB Rumors: Fans May Be Permitted to Attend
As with every other sport currently playing, or looking to starting their season soon, there are limitations on fans and discussions on whether fans would be allowed to attend dependent on COVID-19 restrictions.
There has been much talk that there will be no fans in the 2021 MLB Season, as was the case post-COVID, due to numbers of fans and social distancing. However, USA Today reported that fans could be allowed to attend spring training and regular-season games using pods and restricted fan allocation.
This was further backed by the MLB’s attempt to delay the start of the new season to ensure as many fans were vaccinated to allow access into stadiums. This also follows on from the MLB not implementing league-wide COVID tests at the stadium, thus allowing a team-by-team decision.
Teams Expected to Play 162 Games
As we all know, the 2020 season was severely shortened for there to be a season regardless of the situation. It made it a unique season that will be remembered by all. However, the Commissioner has announced that teams need to be ready for spring training to start as normal, and there to be 162-games.
The MLB itself wanted the season to be delayed by a month at least to get as many vaccines done before allowing fans in the stadiums. However, the MLBPA fought hard to prevent this after past promises that the players will see 100% pay for the season.
Universal DH to Be Kept?
The Universal DH rule became an integral part of the 2020 season. This allowed pitchers to focus on their roles, whilst also trying to speed up the play and make things more exciting.
There are many 2021 MLB rumors around the universal DH and it could go either way going off of reports. It was originally planned that this wouldn’t be part of the 2021 season, but there are conflicting reports that this could be changed to support what happened in 2020.
Either way, there will need to be a quick resolution to help teams fine-tune their FA targets and prepare for the 2021 MLB Season as best they can. This could see the likes of Marcell Ozuna and Nelson Cruz struggling for teams if the DH rule isn’t brought back in.
2021 MLB Rumors: Seven-Inning Double Headers
One of the most unique rules of the 2020 season consisted of the seven-inning doubleheader rule. Whilst it split opinions in its early use, it proved to be effective in being less physically demanding on players whilst enabling the schedule to be less affected by COVID cases.
Should it be used again in 2021? Yes. Many uncertainties are heading into the 2021 MLB Season so having the seven-inning rule in place would allow room for games to be moved through postponements, whilst not causing too much schedule congestion.
Although it takes away from the standard nine-inning game, it adds an element of excitement whilst allowing for two games to be played back-to-back without too many disruptions.
More Action and More Pace
One of the biggest surprises of the off-season sees Theo Epstein join the MLB as a consultant for ‘on-field matters’. He has been appointed to try and see more action and for the game to flow quicker.
It’s an interesting shift of role for him, especially after he shouldered some of the blame for the game slowing down. He will now be on the other side of the issue, working with baseball analytics experts to determine the effects of potential rule changes. It’s safe to say it didn’t go down well with some players, cue Whit Merrifield:
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