Poll: Do MLB’s new rules bring excitement back to baseball?
The Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves Grapefruit League opener on Saturday in North Port, Florida, proved to be quite the indoctrination in MLB's new rules in place for the 2023 season.
With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count in the bottom of the ninth inning, Braves' minor leaguer Cal Conley didn't step into the batter's box with eight seconds left on the pitch clock (as the rule states a batter must do). The ump called an automatic strike as penalty, which ended the at bat, inning and game.
If that were to happen in a regular season or postseason game, it would be madness. I'm guessing MLB and the umpires are using the exhibition season to get everyone acquainted with the new rules, then will be a little more liberal with the punishments once games count for real.
The new rules for the '23 season are:
- 15 second pitch clock with bases empty/20 seconds with runners on base. As we saw Sunday, the batter must be in the box with no less than eight seconds remaining on the pitch clock. If not, they're assigned a strike. If the pitcher takes too long to deliver, the batter is assigned a ball.
- No more shifts. There must be two fielders on either side of second base at all times.
- Pizza box-sized bases (at least, according to Alex Cora).
The data is already pretty astounding. The average time of the first 19 spring training games this year was 2-hours and 36-minutes. The average time of spring training games last year was 3-hours and 1-minute. That means, thanks to the pitch clock, games have been 25 minutes(!) quicker on average.
So, what do you think? Are you on board with the changes MLB has made, with the hopes of an improved product?