In the four-and-a-half years since Adrián Beltré last stepped on a baseball diamond, MLB has installed a multitude of new rules or alterations to America’s Pastime.
During an interview with Yardbarker on Thursday, the longtime third baseman and 2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame candidate said that he’s not a big fan of the changes.
“I’m an old school baseball guy. So I actually don’t love the rule changes for Major League Baseball. I just loved the game how it was, how I grew up playing it,” Beltré said. “It’s such a beautiful game, I would rather it be left how it was. It’s perfect to me.”
Earlier this week, Beltré joined Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Mariano Rivera in the investment group for Baseball United — the “first-ever professional baseball league created to serve the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.” Larkin and Rivera joined the ownership group last summer.
Baseball United held their inaugural showcase (the West Asia Cup) in late January in Dubai, which was won by Pakistan. The league will have a two-week showcase in Dubai in November featuring four teams and will be broadcast worldwide.
“In the Middle East and India, it’s different. Because the game has never been played there at the professional level. So things like history and statistics and tradition are not embedded into the culture of the sport. So over there, with Baseball United, we can try and do different things and innovate with new ideas and changes to excite younger and more diverse fans. But here in the U.S. in MLB, I like the old school game,” the former five-time Gold Glove award winner and four-time All-Star said. “I’m so impressed with what Kash, Barry, Mariano, and the rest of the Baseball Untied team have already accomplished, and I’m so excited to be a part of our continued growth.”
“When we met with Adrian, during the first conversation I knew that he was someone that we wanted to bring on board,” Baseball United Chairman and CEO Kash Shaikh added. “Very intelligent, very versed in obviously the game of baseball, but also really smart, strategic questions on how we could grow the business of baseball and how we could do it in the right way and the right pace.”
In addition to discussing the MLB rule changes and his partnership with Baseball United, Beltré also praised the Texas Rangers‘ offseason addition of injury-prone two-time NL Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom. Beltré spent the final eight of his 21 big-league seasons in Texas, has his No. 29 retired by the organization and is a member of the franchise’s Hall of Fame.
Come next winter though, the 43-year-old could very well find himself being voted into Cooperstown. On top of the bevy of Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances, Beltré is one of only 12 players in MLB history with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs and is the only third baseman to do so.
“It’s an honor just to be in the group that have a chance,” Beltre said. “I know I played a lot of years and I know that my name has been thrown out there and there’s a chance. I’m excited just to be in the bunch of (names) and let’s wait and see what happens.”