Lockout brings some changes to new baseball season


Robert Richardson, Staff Writer

After 99 days of a contentious lockout, baseball is finally back. After months of heated negotiations, we will have a full 162-game season that starts today. 

However, there will be some changes to the game.

The biggest change is the addition of the designated hitter (DH) to the National League. A DH is a player who hits in the place of a position player, most commonly for a pitcher. It was adopted by the American League in 1973, but never adopted by the National League — until now.

“Having a Universal DH was a great addition, pitchers waste at-bats by just standing there. It ruins the pace of the game,” Sophomore Joshua Magallon said.  

Junior Caleb Henderson also is in favor of the Universal DH.  “It allows pitchers to focus on their craft and eliminate risk of injury,” he said.

Others have mixed feelings about the subject.

We get to see more playing time from superstars in the NL like the AL has been doing since 1973, but the downside is not seeing any pitchers swing the bat anymore, which is entertaining to baseball viewers,” Senior Andrew Early said.

Another big change made with the agreement was there being no more games outside the United States and Canada.

 “ Besides the games in Toronto, Canada, I think that the MLB is taking away the ability to expand the league [by not] playing outside of the country anymore because there are countries who grew interest in baseball and would like to see more games if possible but can’t really because of games being [only] in America and Canada,” Early said.

Sophomore Joshua Magallon believes the move will impact baseball’s fan base.

 “The London game in 2019 between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees was a popular game,” he said. “Foreign games create a great atmosphere outside the country. I feel like the viewership and popularity will drop.”

Caleb Henderson agrees with Magallon. “It takes away from the experience for other countries to see this beautiful game in person,” he said.

Mr. Paul Unterfranz, an English teacher, said he is OK with most of the changes. 

“Baseball is struggling to get younger viewers (despite having a ton of great young players on almost every team), so I think it would’ve been very detrimental to the future of the sport to not have a season this year,” he said. “Even though baseball was probably more popular than the NFL and the NBA in 1994 (when they had to cancel the end of the season because of a strike), it took a long time for the game to regain its popularity.”

However, he said he would have fought against expanding the playoffs.  

“Twelve teams is too many when they play 162 games to determine which teams are the best,” he said. “It makes winning your division less significant.”

The fans took a minute to explain changes they would like to see.

“The changes I would make to make the agreement better is to get rid of the upcoming ban on shifts and the upcoming pitching clock that is supposed to come in 2023,” Early said.

Early was referring to bans on extreme shifts in infield positions to defend against hitters going to their hot spots, especially left-handed hitters. The league will also impose a 15-second pitching limit to help speed up the game. 

Henderson would get rid of an extra inning rule that began last season.

“[I would] eliminate runners on 2nd in extra innings because it isn’t the original, not the right way to end games,” he said.

Magallon would expand interleague games..

“Change the schedule, make N.L teams play more A.L teams, so I can see the Cubs play teams like the Yankees and Dodgers more often,” he said. “I would change that so I can see more teams play at Wrigley Field. You can only see certain teams once or twice a year.”