Baseball In 2060

Zack Greinke, age 77, is the ace of the Royals once more.

The year is 2060. Human umpires are no more, shifts are a thing of the past, technology has revolutionized sports equipment, and Major League Baseball is a worldwide league. Grandparents share fables with their grandchildren about times when players would assault opponents for simply having fun, but the tales become less believable with each re-telling. Children play telephone and whisper, “actual human umpires used to call balls and strikes,” and although the message makes it all the way to the end, everyone laughs because it’s that unbelievable.

The few days leading up to 11:59 pm on December 1 were an exciting whirlwind with no lack of hot stove rumors and monumental transactions. I’m not a fan of the offseason, but I will admit that it started off better than I expected. The fun came to a grinding halt when the clock ticked to midnight, however. I don’t know how long the lockout will last, but I’m pretty sure Opening Day in 2060 will go on as planned.

I posed the following question to our Pitcher List readers a few weeks ago: what will baseball look like in 2060? I broke the question down into three sections: biggest rule changes, differences in game-play, and any other weird and wild changes coming to the beautiful game we all love. A few readers were practical, some were skeptical, and even more were hilariously creative. Follow me down this rabbit hole of fun.


The Biggest Rule Change to Baseball In 2060


Baseball fans have been grumbling for robot umpires over the past few years, and the league has taken notice. In 2019, Major League Baseball baited the independent Atlantic League into being their laboratory guinea pigs. One of the first things they experimented with was an automated strike zone. Major League Baseball was impressed enough to implement the robo-ump in the lower-level minor leagues this season. It wasn’t always reliable, and players often had gripes, but many of our readers believe the automated strike zone will be the new normal in 2060.


If Baseball Were Different, How Different Would It Be?


A few new rules our readers brought up were simple changes that would drastically change baseball as we know it. We don’t have to be baseball purists to admit that we dislike the idea of starting the count at 1-and-1, outlawing breaking pitches after two strikes, or requiring four outs to end an inning. These are all; however, rule changes our wonderful readers suggested.

Starting the count at 1-and-1, an idea from Paul Popovich, is actually something I have seen before. A slow-pitch softball league I played in started all plate appearances with a 1-and-1 count. I’ll take Paul Popovich’s suggestion here a bit further, though. If batters in 2060 do indeed start with one ball and one strike, we get even more radical once a game goes to extra innings: plate appearances start with a 3-and-2 count. One pitch is all you get, allowing three true outcomes: walk, strikeout, or a ball in play. This extra-inning rule will speed up both pace of play and time of game, two wars we’ll still be fighting 40 years later.

Another consensus among Pitcher List readers was that the mound will be different in 2060. No one seems to agree on what the change will be, but we feel the storm coming. The 60-feet-6-inches distance between the rubber and home plate is the longest-standing rule in baseball. Our readers said nothing is sacred, however. We couldn’t agree on what that change is; we just know it’s coming.

Other new rules in 2060 include:

  • A contractual obligation to bat flip every ball in play
  • Designated hitters and fielders have made position players hitting a rarity
  • Shifts are banned and simply talking about shifts are grounds for an ejection
  • Batters have the option of running counter-clockwise once they hit a ball into play
  • “Hit and sit” rule makes home run trots obsolete
  • Two-and-a-half-hour, drop-dead time limit

Many of the suggestions we received mentioned the impending doom awaiting humans as a result of climate change. I think we’re safe from being fully underwater until the year 3000, but Noah Scott seems worried about the potential of roving locust swamps. He suggests every stadium install a dome to mitigate bugs.

Matt Nielsen assumes the earth will be boiling in the summer, so the schedule will be adjusted to play games in the winter. If needed, LittlePiranha says Major League Baseball will consider relocating to colder countries like Sweden. Sven Ljungberg, he says, is the face of baseball and the first two-way MVP since 2021’s Shohei Ohtani.

I’d be remiss if I did not issue a warning on behalf of Scott Pickett, who has been to the year 2060: Baseball isn’t played anymore since climate change has destroyed the world.


Let’s Get Serious


I love fun as much as the next person, but I should probably talk about some of the viable changes 2060 may bring.


Two First Bases

This was one of the few responses I received that I can see the league implementing in the next few years. Something has to be done regarding the safety of first basemen. Multiple players have gotten injured over the past few seasons on bunts or dribblers around the pitcher’s mound when the throw sails across the baseline as the runner is approaching or running through first base.

Max Muncy is the most recent example of a player injured on this type of play. His injury occurred in the last game of the season, and he later revealed a partial UCL tear. Similarly, Garrett Cooper sustained a season-ending UCL tear and underwent Tommy John surgery over the summer; Rhys Hoskins did the same in 2020.

These injuries are far too common and are mostly avoidable. Adding a double bag in foul territory for the baserunner allows more room for the first baseman to make the play and the runner to run through the bag. Along with injuries, we’ve had first basemen get spiked or kicked by runners and ridiculous obstruction calls.

I’ll probably get some blowback, but a double bag may solve these issues. I played with one all throughout my youth; it isn’t a big deal or something that would alter the game to an irreparable level. What does negatively impact the game, however, is watching players get injured and doing nothing about it.


Tanking Is Out, Salary Caps and Floors Are In 

These are concerns that are at the forefront of conversations because of the current lockout. I’ve seen multiple people take stabs at how the league can discourage tanking, most recently by The Athletic’s Jayson Stark. His article focuses on reversing the draft order. He notes this idea isn’t his, but he explores how it could be implemented and why it could work.

Many of the responses I received about rule changes in 2060 were about a salary cap and floor. This is one way that teams would be forced to put a more competitive team on the field. Over the summer, the league proposed a revamping of the luxury-tax system and implementing a salary floor. Even though a salary floor was discussed, the Players Association was, understandably, not thrilled that part of Major League Baseball’s proposition was lowering the first tier of the luxury-tax system by $30 million.

Another positive change someone mentioned was a change to free agency, allowing players to become free agents earlier and while they are in their prime. This ties into a change I hope to see, but far sooner than 2060.

Last but certainly not least, minor league baseball players should make a living wage. This isn’t up for debate. By 2060, I hope baseball’s current failure to support and invest in minor league players will be remedied and our collective society has learned that meeting people’s basic needs shouldn’t be a political statement. It’s human decency.


Robo-Umps and All Their Offshoots

A third of all responses I received mentioned robot umpires in some capacity. Many people indicated that the automatic strike zone will be a normal thing in 2060. While most readers predicted that the automated strike zone will be foolproof by then, Jacob Roy was much more cynical:

“We’ve transitioned back to human umpires after robot umpires conspired to rig the 2054 World Series.”

Some took the automated home plate umpire a step forward to predict some type of technology will also replace base umpires. I want to highlight two specific responses that stood out to me.

From our very own Noah Scott: “Base umpires are replaced by pressure plate bases to automatically handle safe/out calls.”

From Treye Heim: “Sensors in baseballs, cleats, and bases to get an accurate review.”

This is an interesting idea that would not only improve the accuracy of calls but would help mitigate long, drawn-out replay reviews. There are too many instances where the calls seem to be “clear and convincing,” but, after a five-minute replay review, the call remains incorrect. Overhauling the replay review system would, in my opinion, do more for the pace of play than a pitch clock.

The pressure plate idea, along with the aforementioned double bag, may work. When combined with sensors in first basemen’s gloves, this technology could help improve consistency on bang-bang plays.


Above All, Baseball Is Supposed to Be Fun!

What if baseball was played in a circus-like atmosphere? Imagine players dancing to Britney Spears, introducing themselves as they walk to the plate, and reenacting a Lion King celebration during the 7th-inning stretch. This isn’t a dream. It happens every night at the Savannah Bananas ballpark in the Coastal Plain League.

An anonymous responder hopes the 2060 Opening Day will showcase more entertainment. They’d probably enjoy the Savannah Bananas! A few suggestions our brilliant, nameless reader-submitted were to increase stadium sizes to allow for the use of metal bats. They also recommended more teams showcase Beat The Freeze-type races to take entertainment to the next level.

It’s unlikely MLB will go full Savannah Bananas by 2060, but for now, we can take up one final suggestion: Not celebrating on a home run swing is much more disrespectful than bat flipping ever was.


Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & Instagram)


Nicole Cahill

Nicole Cahill is a freelance writer who focuses on mental health and sports. She recently founded a nonprofit that helps youth athletes living with mental health challenges. When she's not fighting stigma or exploring Baseball Savant visuals, you can find Nicole enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book. Portfolio: NicoleCahill.com.

2 responses to “Baseball In 2060”

  1. Jay says:

    Why always taking the umpires out of the equation when it comes to the future of baseball ? They are as passionate and as important as the players, managers, and fans and put in hundred of hours at perfecting their craft.
    As a lifelong baseball fan and amateur umpire i hope your vision of what the game will be in 2060 will never materialise.

    • Nicole Cahill says:

      Hey Jay, thanks for taking the time to read my article! I understand where you’re coming from and tend to agree that the human element, whether it be players, coaches, umpires, or fans, is essential to the game we all love. I listed robot umpires as the biggest change because that was a common theme in most of response I got from our readers. I personally think some form of automated strike zone will be implemented way before 2060 because some independent and minor leagues are currently experimenting with the system. A few players have already called attention to the fact that the automated strike zone they’re using isn’t always accurate and pitchers have found ways to exploit the current setup.

      For right now, I think the game could benefit from a happy medium. The current replay review system is very, very flawed. It’s frustrating to watch what looks like a clear incorrect call go to replay for 5 minutes but the call remains incorrect. I, personally, would rather not have replay at all if it’s unable to be reliable No person or system is perfect, but I’d like to see more dependable technology in place to aid the umpires on the field.

      Some of the other changes were fun responses I received and not anything I’d advocate for. I did experience some version of the silly rules playing fastpitch softball (runner on second in extras, drop-dead time limit in tournaments) as a kid and now slowpitch (at-bats start at 1-1, 3-2 count in extra, “hit and sit” instead of a home run trot) as an adult. I hope these fun ideas at least brought you a smile.

      Thanks again for reading!

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