MLB, you have a gift in Elly. Don’t mess it up.
Elly De La Cruz has been a surprising gift for baseball during this season of dramatic change.
For far too long, baseball has stubbornly refused to divert from its traditional and stodgy ways. Because of that, fans, players and teams suffered.
Games were too long, attendance dwindled, the effects of the Astros scandal lingered, and the general excitement had been drained from America’s favorite pastime. Baseball was so steeped in tradition that it refused to adapt to the changing behaviors and consumption habits of sports fans, and any attempts to divert from the norm and the game’s “unwritten rules” were disdained and quickly quashed.
Don’t bunt to third despite the shift being on.
After hitting a home run, please walk calmly to the nearest base. Do not pass Go, do not collect $100.
Players showing any sort of emotion outside of a Kirk Gibson fist pump were vilified. And don’t even think about a bat flip.
Generally speaking, don’t create any attention in a sport desperately lacking freedom of expression and unbridled excitement.
Baseball is not a boring sport, nor is it devoid of star power.
Instead, it lacks what it has lacked for decades.
An open and willing mind.
But 2023 showed great promise once MLB adopted new rules to address many of the issues plaguing the game.
To speed up the game and induce more hits and base stealing, MLB implemented a 30-second pitch clock, limited pickoff attempts to two, and restricted defensive shifts. MLB also increased Interleague games from 20 to 46 to freshen up its stale schedule.
So far, these changes have succeeded.
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