Major League Baseball is dying. The slow, monotonous pace of the game is losing interest across the board from younger fans, as evidenced by the league’s total attendance dropping below 70 million people during the 2018 season for the first time since 2003. I’ll always be a die-hard Pittsburgh Pirates fan, and I trust that MLB offices are doing everything they can to save the game for the future.
While game speed and overall excitement is hard to change, baseball can start moving out of its archaic identity by just stepping back and realizing that the game is way too old. One of the things fans have asked to see changed is renaming the disabled list, where players are temporarily placed while injured so that another player can take their place. The name is seen as offensive to people with disabilities, and the league finally figured that out after more than 50 years.
The disabled list was introduced in 1966 with the 15-day DL, which means a player cannot be active again for 15 days. Other options like the 10-day, 21-day, 30-day and 60-day lists have been added and removed over the years, but today’s game only uses the 10- and 60-day options. Obviously, injured does not mean disabled and vice versa. Finally, MLB realized the impact those words can have and officially made the change.
Now, the disabled list (DL) will be called the injured list (IL).
“The principal concern is that using the term ‘disabled’ for players who are injured supports the misconception that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in sports. As a result, Major League Baseball has agreed to change the name ‘Disabled List’ to be the ‘Injured List’ at both the major and minor league levels. All standards and requirements for placement, reinstatement, etc., shall remain unchanged. This change, which is only a rebranding of the name itself, is effective immediately.”
— Jeff Pfeifer, MLB Senior Director of League Economics and Operations, via ESPN
It makes perfect sense for baseball to do this. While not even close to fixing the rest of the game’s problems, baseball needs some positive media on their side after a subpar season in 2018. If you have an issue with baseball being more inclusive and changing the name, then you’re 100 percent a part of the problem. Many people — for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom — have condemned baseball for making this change.
It’s not a ridiculous thing to ask, especially for a professional sports league that is celebrating its 150th season in 2019. Thankfully, there are level-headed baseball fans out there who aren’t going to bash the change and understand the basic concept that some people can actually be hurt by a word others don’t care understand.
I applaud Major League Baseball for this. It’s simple, but it shows that the game is willing to change. Again, calling it the “injured list” certainly won’t fix all of the game’s problems, but it is a step in the right direction. Kudos to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for finally listening to fans and joining the 21st century.