MLB, led by Commissioner Rob Manfred, and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) have been busy.  They finally came to terms earlier this week on health and safety protocols covering 2021 spring training and the regular MLB season, which still does not include a universal designated hitter.  That gives us back one good prop bet, will the pitcher get a hit.

The New MLB Season Shapes Up

Finally, here is an item to make baseball purists happy.  There are those who still strongly believe that everyone on a baseball team should take their turn at bat. If a player is too delicate to hit a baseball, perhaps they should take up golf.

The meeting did, however, pass accords similar to last season that designated a 60-game season.  They also passed the still debatable practice of playing seven inning doubleheaders as well as starting extra innings with a runner on second.  In theory, these changes were made because of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to shorten time at the ballpark.

Extra Inning Rules Get Updated

The extra inning rule changes will affect the way fans bet on baseball games, as well.  Only seven innings in doubleheader games means the oddsmakers will have to reset the Over/Under wagers, as well as the totals.

What to do about that runner that suddenly appears on second base if the game goes to extra innings is another dilemma.  Oddsmakers must implement a new strategy and pass on to the bettors as some sort of reasonable proposition for them to place a wager on.

Commissioner Manfred and his staff have been negotiating for some time with the MLBPA in an effort to expand the MLB Playoffs scenario.  They want more games to be played, more work for everybody and more games to bet on for MLB fans.

The MLB Baseball To Be Deadened

As if MLB was not difficult enough to wager on these days, now the league is talking about “deadening” the ball for the upcoming 2021 season.  So now the ball will be “unjuiced” and home runs will garner major headlines.  So many questions come up in relation to this “deadening” of the ball.

Of course, those most affected by the “deadening” of the ball will be the MLB players themselves, specifically the pitchers and the batters. The whole team really, but those guys in particular.  MLB pitchers and catchers and scheduled to start spring training in about a week, and, oh brother, will they have their work cut out for them.

The next people most affected by the “deadening” of the baseball will be the handicappers and the bettors.  Particularly the bettors who are putting down hard earned cash on a baseball game being played with a ball that no one is exactly sure how it is going to behave.

Baseball Lines To Be Impacted

MLB is attempting to explain it all using ‘coefficient of restitution’ and such, but they don’t know.  No one is going to know how this will work out until several weeks into the season, if then.  MLB Over/Under bettors will be in a quandary; norms of eight runs per game could go down below seven, or even lower.

In 2019 MLB saw a record 6,776 home runs hit.  Only time will tell what we are to expect this year.  A baseball game without any homeruns does not sound like fun. But, the Athletic is predicting only about a 5% decrease in home runs due to the “deadened” baseball, and that’s not so bad.  I can already hear sports announcers referring to this as the “dead-ball era.”

Other announcements that might affect how we wager on baseball in 2021 include the reinstitution of the 7-inning doubleheaders along with starting extra inning baseball with runners already on second base.

Baseball purists are not going to like those two rule changes just for the sake of convenience.  However, at least we still do not have designated hitters (DH) in the National League.