Rule Changes for 2021

Starting off in the minors, of course, but some are pretty big changes.

AAA - increase the size of bases from 15-inch squares to 18-inch squares. This means the distance from home to 1B decreases by 3 inches and the distance between 1B-2B and 2B-3B decreases by 4.5 inches.

AA - restrictions on defensive shifts. All four infielders must have both feet completely within the outer boundary of the infield dirt at the time of the pitch. This applies not only to shifts, but the SS or 2Bman can no longer be positioned deep off the dirt.

High A - The pitcher must now step off the rubber before throwing to any base. This means that a left handed pitcher may no longer do the old lift leg, step halfway and throw. He must step off with his left foot before making any move. This also means no inside move to 2B.

Low A - Only two unsuccessful pickoff attempts per plate appearance allowed. If on the third throw on a runner, the runner is not out, it’s a balk.

Low A West - The pitch clock will go from 20 seconds to 15 seconds

Low A SE - What we’ve all been waiting for…ROBOT UMPS. There will be an umpire stationed behind the plate who will receive a signal whether to call a ball or a strike.

It will be interesting.

Hmmm…now where have I seen this shit before?

A perverse part of me hopes they’ve used an Angel Hernandez AI.

I don’t know. They just announced them yesterday. If you posted it somewhere else, I didn’t see it.

The larger bases will definitely have an impact with the success rate of stolen bases. I don’t have a big issue with this rule.

Regarding defensive shifts, my opinion on this has really changed. At one time, was dead set against putting any limitation on where the defense could line up. I’ve since changed my mind because as much as I want hitters to adapt and hit the ball where the fielders are not, they simply aren’t going to change their approach. I’m sick of this home run or strike out era of baseball. I’m sick of .240 team batting averages being top half of the league so bring on the shift limits. But rather than saying all 4 infielders must be on the dirt, I’d rather it be two fielders required on either side of second base. And I understand that is being considered for the second half of the minor league season if the first half doesn’t produce the desired results.

I have no issue with making lefties step off the rubber to throw to first.

The two attempt pickoff is the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever heard off and will significantly impact the game. The runner will get a huge lead to force the first throw and then he’s basically got a green light to steal. Pitchers will be reluctant to throw over the second time because after that they can’t throw over again or they risk giving him second for free! Who thought this shit up?!?!? This is the most asinine of rule changes I’ve ever seen.

I’m fine with the pitch clock

I’m willing to give the robot umpire a try.

I’m all for bringing back the stolen base. On the throws over, you’ll get two throws over and you can still throw over a third time, but the runner has to get thrown out. So the runner still risks getting picked off with a big lead. The count also starts over on the next hitter. I don’t think it’ll have as big an impact as you think.

I agree about the shift restrictions. But these rule changes are designed to increase action, and I’m ok with that. I’m not one of those who think games take too long or is boring, but more action on the bases is fine by me.

I think the biggest impact will be essentially moving the bases closer together. It may not seem like much, but that extra 3 inches to 1B or extra 4.5 inches from 1B to 2B will be meaningful on a lot of plays.

I agree with you HH. Your second paragraph is me to a T.

I want to see the return of the left handed hitter to the game. The shift has really killed lefties and there simply aren’t enough hitters from either side of the plate, like uncle Mike.

I have a big issue with this. As Alkie said, just enforce the rule. I like eliminating the inside move to 2nd. I think that is a balk anyway.

No. The ghost runner rule is.


Amen to that. That is the most inherently dumb rule change to come down the pipe in a very, very long time.


I might be getting softer with age, but these don’t sound like unreasonable ideas to try out. Wouldn’t want them all instituted in the majors at once, but might as well see if they make things more fun. I expect none of them will have that big an impact for better or worse.

At the very least, nothing here bothers me like the runner on second in extras. That rule makes me want to throw Manfred from a cliff.

“More fun.” WTF???

Sure, why not? If the changes suck, abandon them. But I don’t see why the current rules necessarily produce the most enjoyable game. Maybe I’ll enjoy baseball even more with 89’6” base paths or limited pickoffs. Or maybe I’ll hate it, like the ghost runner.


Now with bigger bases!

What about un-juicing the ball so that making contact is an actual asset?

Teams don’t avoid stealing bases because it’s hard, they don’t steal because it’s smarter to wait for the batter to hit a fly ball.

And another thing …


As a wise man once said…baseball is already more fun than watching Hee Haw.

And on the bases…the distance from 1B to 2B is currently 88’ 1.5”. The new distance will be 87’ 9”.

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But the same small minds running it.

  1. If you are taking the shift away, why not go ahead and just say infielders have to stay on the dirt and increase the number of bunts in the game. Bunts for hits are exciting and full of action.

  2. Wonder if the bigger bases will also impact the number of bang bang plays that require replay. My initial thought is that it will reduce replays but now I am swinging to more running means more replays = less action and slows down game.

I don’t think it will increase or decrease the bang-bang plays. They’ll just be different ones.


I’ll tell you what’s really been bothering me about all this. Are they going to have to dig new anchor holes at first and third, or are they going to use bases with anchors that are off center?