Hey, batter batter swing. For the first time in Major League Baseball (MLB) history, a batter’s swing and a pitcher’s pitch will be controlled by a clock.
The MLB imposed the following rules to begin the 2023 season: pitchers will have 15 seconds to throw a pitch with the bases empty and 20 seconds with a runner on base, hitters must be in the batter’s box with eight seconds on the pitch clock, pitchers are allowed two pickoffs per plate appearance without penalty, the size of the bases will be increased from 15 inches to 18 inches and the leading team would have to be up by as many as 10 or more while the trailing team would have to be down by eight or more in order to pitch a position player. The MLB’s new rules regarding adding a pitch clock, larger base and end of the shift will allow a more efficient game and account for its previous inaction problem. Fans do not need to spend time anxiously awaiting action while pitchers take minutes between pitches with no one on base.
To begin, the number of singles has hit an all-time low in the past three seasons, and the overall batting average (.243) was the lowest since 1968. The elimination of the over-shift will help turn more balls in play into hits and reward players for making contact.
Additionally, according to the Associated Press, the spring games average about two hours and 30 minutes, an average of 26 minutes shorter than the spring games last season. If a pitcher violates the pitch clock, he will be charged with a ball. If the batter is not ready by the eight-second mark on the timer, he will be charged a strike. Thus far, during spring training games, the new rules have been praised by MLB fans.
When asking students at Maclay how they felt about the MLB’s new rules, sophomore Camden Webster is in favor of faster game times. Also, increasing base size will improve player safety by decreasing the likelihood of collisions at first base and encouraging more stolen bases. Webster also believes that this will make the games more exciting.
“Now, the games will be a lot less boring to watch,” Webster said.
However, some people enjoy spending multiple hours at the ballpark enjoying America’s most famous pastime. Furthermore, part of the MLB game experience is hanging out in the competitive atmosphere and spending time with other fans.
Though spending time with fellow baseball fans sounds like a good idea, because MLB baseball games are typically three to four hours long, keeping the fans interested in the game becomes challenging. Specifically, the younger audience will see the new rules and regulations as beneficial. As they won’t be spending time at the ballpark for the entire day watching the game that should have been over hours ago.
To keep the younger audience involved and to make time go by faster the MLB should make the game more interactive and interesting. Take, for example, the nationally known Savannah Bananas who have made the game of baseball interactive with the fans. By implementing games between innings or games played by fans, the game would move a lot quicker and gain the attention of the younger audience while at the same time not changing anything to the game itself.
Overall, because of the MLB’s new rules, fans will enter the stadium excitedly and leave the exact same way. Because the baseball games are not dragging out for an eternity, the MLB is receiving positive feedback from the fan base as of May 2023.