Sports Rules You'd Like to See Implemented

I know there are a lot of sports purists out there who loathe any sort of change to their favorite sport’s rules, but I think occasionally a change or two can be made to make things more interesting.

For example, it is my understanding (and correct me if I’m wrong) that NFL Europe has a rule where field goals of 50 yards or more are worth 4 points instead of 3. I’d love to see this implemented in the NFL. It may not be used too often, but it could make for some interesting coaching decisions in tight games.

Also, I like brianjedi’s idea in this post of giving a batter two bases instead of one if he’s intentionally walked.

What rules would you like to see added to the rulebooks of your favorite sports?

Only problem with two bases for an intentional walk, is that teams would just “unintentionally” intentionally walk someone- i.e. throw four pitches way off the plate, enough outside or low so the batter would not swing, but not an “official” intentional walk.

My buddy Jeff had a suggestion to speed up baseball games. Eliminate the warmup pitches at the start of an inning. Let them warm up in the bullpen, and when they get to the field – IT’S ON! That would cut out a good 10 minutes per inning (at least), thereby saving 90 minutes per game. Wouldn’t baseball be better if it went quicker?

Well, that alone is up for debate, but if there were no breaks in baseball games, we could all kiss baseball on the radio & television goodbye. No station would go two hours straight without some kind of advertising. And honestly, I like being able to run to the beer stands right after the third out, and making it back to my seat by the second batter of the next inning. Without breaks between innings, you’re miss at least half an inning every time you had to pee.

I also like the idea of extra punsihment for an intentional walk (being a Giants fan, and all) but the problem is “how do you define an intentional walk?” I mean, we can all spot them now, but there’s a million way to get the same result. Plus, even if we can define an IBB and charge two bases, pitchers will just start beaning the hard hitters (or the poor schlubs batting eighth).

I’ll toss in “no designated hitter” and “no interleague play.”

I’ve played in a league that had this rule, and it was up to the umpire to decide if the walk was ‘intentional’ or not. Really, it was an easy call. A home-run hitter at the plate and all of a sudden you can’t get the ball over the plate once in four tries? Unintentional walks are rarely 4 straight balls. The usual way to get around the rule was to get one strike on the batter, and then the rest of the pitches can be balls. So you may be walking the big hitter intentionally, but at least you have to give him one good swing.

Yes. How do you prove a walk is intentional or not when the pitcher throws four bad pitches? Too complicated.

Back in the 60s, someone came up with three very interesting ideas:

[li]Three-set baseball – a baseball game is scored in three sets of three innnings each. The team scoring the most in each set wins the set; best two-out-of-three wins the game. It would allow for a team getting blown out in the first inning to come back and win the game. Ties are broken by total runs. The big disadvantage would be that a team might be down 2-1 after six and have lost both sets.[/li][li]Match play baseball – same as three-set baseball, except each inning is counted: the team that scores the most in that inning wins the inning. If there’s a tie, total runs count. Again, the disadvantage is that a team could win four innings by scoring four runs, and the other could win two by scoring six runs.[/li][li]12-inning football – this takes the clock out of the game. A team is given the ball. Their inning ends when they score or turn over the ball; then the other team gets an inning. After 12 innings, the game is over. [/li][/ul]
These aren’t really practical (though in most games, the final result would be the same as under current rules), but it would be fun to try.

These are scoring rules rather than playing rules, but relief pitcher stats in baseball always annoy me. I’d make the following changes:

  1. When a runner scores, the run (earned or otherwise) is divided into 1/4, and charged to the pitcher that allowed each base advancement. I hate it when a starter gets tired and puts men on base, the reliever is brought in for the express purpose of making sure they don’t score, and he lets them in…but it goes unnoticed on the reliver’s numbers.

  2. If a relief pitcher fails to hold a lead and he emerges as the winning pitcher of record, the credit for the win should go the pitcher who had the lead before him.

  3. Ditch the five-innings rule for starter getting a win. Imagine the following scenario: starter, for whatever reason, leaves game after four innings with a 6-0 lead. Five subsequent relievers pitch one inning each and allow one solo home run each. The team wins 6-5, but the official scorers have to pick one of the relievers as the winning pitcher. I realize that starters are supposed to be durable, but I think the win should go to the most effective pitcher in the entire game regardless of his role.

I’m with ya on interleague play, but I think they should force the DH on the NL. Watching pitchers bunt or strike out is boring.

Here’s some ideas:

Baseball: Pitcher must pitch to at least 3 batters to eliminate endless pitching changes for matchups, warm-up pitches limited to 2 or 3, except at the start of innings. Ground rule (automatic double) elimnated and left at discretion of ump to award number of bases (speedy runner on first w/2 outs? He scores), 4 straight balls and two bases awarded (or following batter walks also) .

Football: 3 Pass Intefernce possibilities - 5 yds, 15 yds or spot foul, team can only punt X times per game (I’m flexible on the X), make FGs harder - they are boring and too easy (widen hashes, narrow uprights, whatever), 2 pts for FG inside the 20, more points for safeties (4 or 5), eliminate Extra Ponits ( you get 7 for a TD, want to go for “2”? - you get 1 point (8 total) if you make it, but lose a point if you miss).

Hockey: eliminate the red line

Soccer: use a static line for offsides, like hockey.

That’s all I can remeber for now (I’ve thought of this many times), I may be back…

As a baseball fan, aside from the “unwinding” of recently (for baseball, 30+ years counts) rules such as the DH rule, I’d like to see:

[ul][li]Repeal of the rule stating that bunting foul with two strikes is a strikeout. Why should a foul bunt on 2 strikes be any different from any other foul ball with the same count? It’s one of those “logically inconsistent” things in baseball that has always bugged me (as opposed to the ones that I find charming). This would also somewhat extend the time at bat for many a pitcher’s spot in the NL, which would eliminate some of the “need” behind the DH rule.[/li]
[li]Only one timeout call per batter per plate appearance. How many times do we see the pitcher stare in, go into the windup… and hold on, the batter wants to adjust his gloves or footing, or maybe disrupt the pitcher’s timing? Fine, but just once. Then you’ll just have to wait for the pitch like all the fans watching the game. It’s always the umpire’s prerogative to call or not call time, of course, but having it in the rulebook that it can only be called once per plate appearance would do a lot to speed the game up in a natural way.[/li]
[li]Replacing umpires calling balls and strikes with a fixed strike zone machine. This is really radical and has no chance of ever happening (unlike maybe the first two suggestions), but I hate hearing all the time about what the strike zone du jour appears to be, and if it’s consistent throughout the game or not, and how part of a rookie’s learning curve is learning about the strike zone tendencies called by various Major League umpires.[/li]
Instead, we should be able to come up with a radar or infrared based device that fixes a strike zone “box” of about 2 feet by 2-1/2 feet (or whatever the proper dimensions are ultimately judged to be) at a fixed height (say, 2-1/2 feet) over home plate. This would be just like the box with an X through it that one chalks or tapes up on a wall for playing stickball, except in front of instead of behind the batter. Any pitch that has a part of the ball pass through that zone is a strike. Nothing else.

Anybody could then get a similar machine and practice hitting and pitching to a Major League standard strike zone in their own backyard as easily as practicing free throws to a hoop set to an NBA height. Consistency of balls and strikes would be 100% across all levels of baseball, and across all pitchers and batters. The “outside corner” is two feet up from the corner of home plate, period.

On the downside, this would put shorter batters at something of a disadvantage (though I’m not sure what the “crossover point” height would be) since for them the strike zone would be relatively larger than it would be now, as it would not be defined by the distance from their knees to the letters. On the other hand, no more Eddie Gaedel schemes to draw a walk.[/ul]

In pro basketball, aside from seeing more traveling calls made (especially that “bunny hop” a lot of players do leading in to taking a jump shot), I would love to see the NBA institute a one-and-one free throw instead of the automatic two for getting fouled while shooting (unless over the foul limit for a quarter). No particular reason, except that I feel foul shooting is one of those fundamentals that get glossed over these days, and deserves a slightly higher premium on it.

College football had the “inning” concept as an option sometime around the 1890s or so. It was used for some games in the midwest but didn’t catch on.

Some people complain that the problem with a 4-point FG is that teams would be voluntarily losing yards near the end of the game instead of trying to advance.

I’d like to see a rule added to football to allow drop-kicks for points in the open field. And on-side scrimmage kicks.

I take it they would be based on how “blatant” the foul is?

That’s an interesting idea. It could force teams to start turning it over on downs if they’re just being clobbered by the other team’s defense.

I say if you’re going to make shorter FGs worth only two points, then you can leave the difficulty as is. To tie this in with my earlier idea, FG < 20 yards are two points, between 20 and 50 are three, and > 50 are four. I like that.

Great idea. They are so hard to get they should be worth more, although they do get the ball right back. If you were to make them worth more points, would the team that just scored have to kick off to the other team again?

If you did this, would there ever be a reason to not go for the extra point?

Who cares? If you suck so bad you can’t get one decent pitch over the plate with 4 pitches, the batter deserves 2 bases out of you anyhow.

In baseball, I’d like to see a rule that a manager is immediately ejected from the game if he comes onto the field to argue a call. Skip the ridiculous childish ranting; dirt-kicking and other crap that looks like it belongs in professional wrestling.

Yeah, because there’s so much strategy in having an aging, defensive liability of a power hitter batting instead of the pitcher. All the DH does is slow the game down and give old, broken-down guys roster spots that could be occupied by young players.

The designated hitter is an abomination that has no place in professional baseball.

I like the DH rule the way it is - keep it in the AL and keep it out of the NL. It provides some distinction between the leagues.

By a similar line of reasoning, interleague play is a total abomination and needs to be discarded as soon as possible.

But why should a team be penalized for an intentional walk? It’s a legitimate strategy; how does it improve the game to remove strategy from it?

Yes. I hate seeing 50 yd penalties for slight contact.

I was thinking more of making them harder to discourage teams from trying, more going for it on 4th down. But I could live with this (although on 3rd and long from the 19, you might see an outbreak of 2 yd losses :smiley: )

Didn’t think about that. I think you should still have to give up the ball

You’d lose a point if you didn’t make it, winding up with 6 instead of 7. I hate when they are flashing the current scores of other games, and you see your team has gone up 6-0 and you think “wow, we must have got 2 FGs”. Minutes later they flash the score and it is 7-0. Doh!

But managers legitimately argue calls. Remember the home run by Belhorne against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS? The guy at third got the call wrong, Tito came out and got the umps to talk among themselves, and it was correctly ruled a homerun. How else you gonna do this?

If a manager is kicking dirt he’s doing so to get kicked out. A rule preventing him from coming out of the bullpen isn’t going to stop him since he’s already trying to get kicked out.

It’s not a legitimate strategy when it’s used to avoid pitching to guys at every at-bat. If you’re giving the #8 hitter a pass to make the pitcher bat, that’s different.

So let me refine my original idea: Intentional walks are only worth 2 bases with runners on base. If the bases are empty, it’s only one. That makes it a little harder to get to the pitcher, but it eliminates this “let’s walk their best hitter all the time” mentality.

I’d make the first rule, 3 batters or to the end of the inning. None of these lefty specialists who pitch to one guy. I’m totally with you on the warmup pitches, make them quick, the reliever has been inthe bullpen warming up, he doesn’t need to warm up on the mound.

The last two, I don’t like. I want umpire judgement to be as limited as possible, not expanding it so that batters and runners get extra bases if the ump thinks he deserves it. Way too much discretion there, and it’s fertile ground for arguments and accusations of favortism.

I’d change the intentional walk rule to just ditch the whole idea of having to pitch the 4 stupid balls in the first place. Tell the guy he gets first base, and let’s all get on with the game.

I want the game shortened by 30 minutes, by cutting out as much fat as possible from the game play. No standing outside the batters box adjusting your equipment after you watched a ball go by. No wandering around the mound. Neither of you are exhausting yourselves with effort, just pitch and hit, whydontcha?