MLB Implements Rule Changes

There are new rule changes coming to Major League Baseball in 2023. Along with the banning of defensive shifts, a pitch clock has been instituted in an effort to speed up the game.

The pitch clock is a rule that many fans have been clamoring for, and after being tested in the minor leagues last season, MLB is ready to roll it out in major league games. The pitcher will have 15 seconds to release the pitch, and if he doesn’t, he will be charged with an automatic ball. Conversely, if the batter is not ready to hit with eight seconds left on the clock, they will be charged with an automatic strike.

“Young children would rather look at the final scores of a baseball game on the ESPN app than sit there for three and a half hours watching the game,” said junior Molly Jacob. “Even for adults, it will be great to speed up the game. The original dynamics of baseball are still in play, which is important to note, it is just adapting to the current culture of society for the 162 regular season games.”

Spring Training has acted as a bit of an adjustment period for players and pitchers, and there have been some players called for violations already this spring.

“I understand that baseball players have never played with a pitch clock before, especially those that have been in the game for over 20 years, but it is an adjustment that all players must go through, so it is fair,” says Jacob.

The removal of the infield shift is another big change for this upcoming season. There must be two infielders on each side of second base at all times now.

“I don’t like the removal of shifting. I feel like it removes some strategy that is needed in baseball,” said junior Justin Alter.

ESPN reported that, “If the hitting team reaches base and runners advance on a ball hit under the violation, the game proceeds without penalties. If the play has any other consequence — an out, a sacrifice, etc. — the hitting team can decide either to accept the penalty — which would add one ball to the hitter’s count — or decline it, and the play would stand.” 

Part of the reasoning for this new rule is the drop in batting average league-wide. The batting average in 2022 was the lowest it has been since 1968, according to ESPN.

Overall, Jacob is optimistic that these changes will be positive for the game of baseball. 

“As someone that works in the media for professional baseball, I think the changes will benefit all the networks in hopes that they will get more viewers that want to watch the shorter games,” said Jacob. “Networks are always trying to get children’s attention and the pitch clock will definitely be an improving factor.”

Many fans and people around baseball hope that these new rule changes will add something new to the game and make the game better. Only time will tell.

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