In Baseball Highlights 2045 (BH2045), designer Mike Fitzgerald starts with this premise:
American baseball was on its last legs as a spectator sport. Football had become the predominant national pastime.
Some might say that this situation actually applies today!
BH2045 provides a light-hearted response to this dire(?) situation in an abstract card game. In an effort to attract more fans, games are shortened to six innings and robotic players added to the lineups - to the point where human players are struggling to even stay in the league.
My current tabletop baseball project applies this idea to PLAAY games HMB. Think of it as a prequel to BH2045, with a rules overhaul but no robotic players yet. Here's what I'm doing.
Each team (like in football) fields offensive and defensive teams.
Offense: The lineup consists of six batters only - all designated hitters. Fans like hitting! Batters want to hit!
- The third spot in the lineup is considered the CLEAN-UP batter.
- No bunting: By popular demand, bunting has been banned.
Player usage: black-star players can play every game; white-star players can be used in one game per series; no-star players are not used at all.
Defense: The normal fielding positions are manned, but fielders are prohibited from batting. Because they are all specialists on defense, they are all rated GOLD. Anyone worse than that wouldn't make the team! Since fielding is generic, there is no need to have named players on defense. But they can still make errors, or throw to the wrong base sometimes.
Umpires: There are no human umpires on the field. Ball and strike calls have been automated. Base umpiring is done by video replay (every call). No arguments with umpires are possible. All umpiring is rated STRICT and RESPECTED.
Pitching: Pitchers never bat, but they do have to field for themselves (using his printed defense rating).
Because starting pitchers have to work harder facing all designated hitters, the normal fatigue distance for starters is reduced by one inning. FRESH for the the first two innings; SEMI-FRESH for the next two. If the starter goes more than four innings, he has no fresh-ness at all.
No change to relief pitcher freshness rule as written or to the conditions for becoming a SEMI-STRUGGLER. Note that the FRESH and STRUGGLER qualities can co-exist.
- "Freshness" refers to how long the pitcher has been in the game.
- "Struggling" refers to consecutive batters reaching base.
Game length: Six-inning games. No extra innings.
Standings points: 2 for a win, 1 point for a tie.
They played 140 games. These rules will speed the season along and focus the action on the best hitters and pitchers. Will having an all-GOLD defense supress the offense?