What Major League Baseball wants is for its product to move and flow in a way that attracts new generations of fans, many of whom now treat any hint of boredom with a touch of the next app, moving on to the next thing.
This concern was the motivating factor behind the three-batter minimum rule that has been implemented for 2020: Any reliever called into a game must face at least three batters, or pitch through the end of the inning, with exceptions made for injury or illness.
In recent seasons, the pace of a lot of games slowed dramatically — think of a speeding dune buggy sinking into a mud bog — once managers turned to their bullpen for successive pitching changes. The hope in the commissioner’s office is that the three-batter minimum will keep the game moving, and perhaps foster more offense.
As managers, pitching coaches and front-office types try to figure out the impact of the new rule and the best ways to turn it into a strategic advantage, it remains unpopular in some corners.