Major League Baseball announced its return to play on Tuesday which will bring the league back to fans after a months-long delay to the season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and an ongoing labor dispute over the resumption of the season.
The league, which will come back either on July 23rd or July 24th, will feature some important rule changes including a universal designated hitter which will eliminate the National League tradition of pitchers hitting, at least this year.
The designated hitter rule, which has allowed teams in the American League to take the pitcher out of the batting order and replace him with an offensive player that doesn’t play the field, has been in effect in the AL since 1973.
The National League, however, has never allowed a designated hitter under its rules since the league was founded in 1876.
While it is still unknown if the DH will remain a part of the National League beyond the 2020 season, the abbreviated season which will be played this year will allow players and teams the opportunity to see whether or not they like the controversial rule.
Teams are expected to report to “Spring Training” at the beginning of July in preparation for the new season.