Major League Baseball in 2020: Five biggest changes coming to the game

Major League Baseball released an official list of “unique features” fans will notice during the 2020 season on Monday.

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Here are the top five biggest differences from previous seasons:

1. Pitchers won't hit: The National League will use the designated hitter for the first time.

2. Quicker games: Each half inning in extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.

According to MLB, this is how that will work: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter. By way of example, if the number five hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the tenth inning, the number four player in the batting order (or a pinchrunner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base. However, if the player in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter is the pitcher, the runner placed on second base at the start of that half-inning may be the player preceding the pitcher in the batting order. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the OBR.”

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3. Fewer pitching changes: Starting pitchers and relievers must face a minimum of three batters unless they are forced to leave the game because of an injury or illness.

4. No fighting: There will be no bench-clearing brawls, and managers will not be able to get in the face of umpires.

The rule states, “Prohibitions against unsportsmanlike conduct will be strictly enforced to prevent unnecessary physical contact and support physical distancing between individuals on the playing field. In this respect, players and managers should maintain physical distancing from all umpires and opposing players on the playing field whenever possible. Players or managers who leave their positions to argue with umpires, come within six feet of an umpire or opposing player or manager for the purpose of argument, or engage in altercations on the field are subject to immediate ejection and discipline, including fines and suspensions.”

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5. Traditions prohibited: Spitting of saliva, tobacco or sunflower seeds is not allowed, though chewing gum is permitted.

There will be no exchange of pregame lineup cards.

“Instead, each Club will input their lineup card into a mobile application provided by MLB,” baseball announced.

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