As a fan of baseball from since I can remember, I always appreciated how the sport continued to stay the same and refused to cave to changes regardless of what outsiders had to say in order to expand the sport. Fast forward to now and it’s obvious what changes need to be made. People are in a hurry with their lives, and even though we like to sit down and enjoy sports for a period of time it doesn’t mean we want to spend hours watching something that could be done in half the time.
What the Fans Say They Want
The MLB is looking to change some rules going into the 2023 season and I honestly feel like they’re for the better. We’ve had to watch pitchers take forever on the mound, while batters would back up from the box and practice swing for long periods of time. As a viewer, I would find myself looking at my phone, leaving the room for a minute, or just losing interest altogether after a period of time (especially when my team is down by multiple runs late in a game).
In order to counter these issues in some way, Major League Baseball has introduced changes based off what the fans say they want. They go on to say that these changes will allow for better pace of play and balls to be hit into play, while also allowing for more action on the bases.
What’s New in the MLB This Year?
The pitch timer being altered will allow for less waiting and more action. The pitchers will now only be awarded 15 seconds with bases empty and 20 with runners on. Violations will result in either a ball or strike.
The shift in baseball was something certain players took issue to, while others didn’t mind it at all. Regardless, changes are also coming to shifts in the MLB. In the past, infielders and outfielders were able to stack onto a side that they believed favored their chances of getting the batter out. This resulted in players like Joey Gallo to go on long slumps that impacted his future with the Yankees at one point. You could argue it’s good baseball IQ by the fielders, but ultimately it restricts players to some extent.
The new rules allow for 2 infielders on each side of 2nd base. They also force all infielders to place both feet at pitch release. This will force the player to focus more on their awareness in the moment.
This one should be interesting. The bases will now change in size from 15” to 18” in width. This will allow for more room on the bag, resulting in increased safety and aggressive base running. This was initially tested in the minors and was proven to lesson injuries by a significant amount.
What to Expect From These Recent MLB Changes
These rules mentioned above were all tested in the minors. It’s claimed that upwards of 8,000 games were played with these new rules and resulted in quicker games, fewer strikeouts, and more stolen bases. Ultimately, the plan is to bring more excitement to a sport that has become very slow and mundane at times.
I’m personally excited for all of these new MLB changes, but wouldn’t be surprised to see them tweaked a bit by next year due to some issues here and there. I love the shift restrictions, though, and believe they’ll allow for more offensive games with teams able to put runs on the board regardless of who is slugging that day.