New MLB rules into full swing as season kicks off

Student Submission

The 2023 MLB season is officially underway, as of March 30. The new season brings hope to those who love the game, but also a whole new rulebook for the players to follow.  

The intention of the new rules? To speed up the pace of play as well as produce more action for the fans to enjoy. But have these new rules been doing their job?  

This year, the MLB has been incorporating many new rules and changes to the game, including increasing the size of the bases, taking away defensive shifts, adding a runner to second base to start extra innings and more.  

But the main changes added that have both pleased and upset viewers have been the addition of the pitch clock. WIth the new pitch clock, the clock will begin counting down from 15 seconds (20 if there is a runner on base) when the pitcher receives the ball from the cather.  

At this point, the batter is not allowed to step out of the box, and must be ready to hit with at least eight seconds remaining on the clock.  

If he is not, that is an automatic striked called on the batter. However, if the pitcher fails to begin his windup by the time the clock strikes zero, the umpire will call a time from the game, and award the batter an automatic ball.  

This new rule has already resulted in many walks/strikeouts with the game on the line in spring training without the ball even being pitched.  

While some fans hate it, and miss the slow tempo of the game, the rule is doing what it was intended. It is resulting in quicker games with lots of offensive production.  

But is it really worth it to those true fans who did not mind how long games used to take? Currently, the average game time is already 26 minutes down from last season, and we are only roughly five games in.  

So, this is good news for those new fans who did not like the games taking over three hours, but for the true fans, is this worth what we are missing out on?  

The strategy and slow pace of play is part of what made baseball so great to those who fell in love with the game.  

Most people wanted the batters to learn to hit away from the shift, rather than to take the shift out of the game completely. Most people enjoyed the mind games between the pitcher and the batter.  

Forcing these pitchers to rush their pitches can take away more from the game than a lot of casual fans realize.  

Because of the time limit, pitchers and catchers do not have nearly enough time to strategize, and pitchers do not have as much time to zone in. While there is no proof of this yet, there is a good chance this is going to take away a lot of no-hitters as well as perfect games from pitchers and catchers.  

Heck, we have already seen one player, Trayce Thompson of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have a three home run game and we are not even a full week into the season.  

So yes, these new rule changes are doing what they were meant to do, but at the same time, there are a lot of great things these rule changes take away from the true fans of baseball. And for what? The games to be 30 minutes shorter? Hopefully, these new rules are not set in stone, and the MLB plans on making some much-needed adjustments as they see fit.