The 2020 Major League Baseball season was going to be remarkable from the get-go for a number of proposed rule changes. Now that we're more than a quarter of the way through the season, we have a sense of how much these new rules have had an impact on the game. With that in mind, we checked in with three of ESPN.com's baseball insiders -- Bradford Doolittle, Sam Miller and David Schoenfield -- to give us their reads on how these rules are working so far, and whether we should keep them or chuck them into history's dustbin.
Extra innings runner on base rule
What we love or hate about it
Bradford Doolittle: It's a gimmick, and it's not the way major league games should be decided. I understand that so far, the rule has been popular. But the message the reaction sends is being misinterpreted. What I get from it is that what people like about it is that the rule forces teams to (mostly) think beyond playing for the home run. The strategies that come into play when an inning starts with a runner already on second base are ... just baseball, in the way that we've mostly known it up to the past few years.
People like a diversity of strategy, and while home runs have their appeal, they can't be the only on-field offering baseball features. Address the over-incentivization of home runs, and the practice of carrying too many pitchers, and you have a better balanced and nuanced game and this silly gimmick is not needed. And as for using it as a game-shortening measure, it's a ham-handed and misguided way of dealing with what is the real underlying problem.
Miller: Every half-inning goes in terrifyingly unpredictable, dynamic directions, flowering into unanticipated strategic dilemmas and wild swings in win expectancy with nearly every play. And the fan has some faith that the viewing experience will deliver what it promised -- a victor -- at a reasonable hour.
David Schoenfield: While the one or two games every year that go 17 or 18 innings are always fun, I think the idea of a long extra-inning game is actually more exciting than the actual product. If a game goes that long, it's usually because nothing is happening. Indeed, the collective batting average in extra innings last year was .233, the lowest of any inning. The collective slugging percentage was .394, the lowest of any inning. Now we have instant excitement and strategic options with the runner on second base. In fact, this rule is helping keep the sacrifice bunt from complete extinction. There have been just 20 sac bunts all season through Sunday, with six of those coming in extra innings.