Major League Baseball announced new rule changes last year in September, and they were changes that could really impact how the game is played in MLB.
The rule changes included things like bigger bases, banning the shift, and a pitch clock.
MLB is expected to approve the following rule changes for the 2023 season, per @Ken_Rosenthal:
▫️ Introduction of a pitch clock
▫️ Ban on the defensive shift
▫️ Larger bases pic.twitter.com/535IiH7IjN
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 8, 2022
Opinions were mixed on the rule changes, with some hoping it would make games shorter and less exciting. Others thought that it would deviate too far from the baseball that many have adored for a century.
But, data shows that the game is not like it was in terms of actions. Games are much longer now than they have ever been.
Average length of an MLB regular season game:
1972 —> 2 hours, 27 minutes
1982 —> 2 hours, 40 minutes
1992 —> 2 hours, 54 minutes
2002 —> 2 hours 56 minutes
2012 —> 3 hours
2022 —> 3 hours, 6 minutes
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 19, 2023
A lot of that is due to more commercials than ever before as well as more pitching changes. But, MLB already cracked down on pitching changes by instituting a three-batter rule, and the pitch clock has shown to be effective in reducing game times.
Time of game for Padres-Mariners: 2 hours, 29 minutes.
Time of game for Rangers-Royals: 2 hours, 33 minutes.
This is spring training and a minuscule sample. But it's hard to understate how drastically the pitch clock is going to change baseball.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 24, 2023
It has produced some funny moments already, though.
A spring training game ended in a tie due to a batter not getting in the box quickly enough.
Bottom of the ninth. Tie game. Bases loaded. Full count. The dream scenario. And … Cal Conley didn't get set in the batter's box with 8 seconds left on the pitch clock.
Umpire calls an automatic strike. At-bat over. Inning over. This is the new reality. pic.twitter.com/Bv5k2xJ06j
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 25, 2023
And, James Karinchak got hit with a ball when he wanted a new baseball.
James Karinchak asks for a new ball, but the pitch clock isn't stopped/restarted which results in an automatic ball. pic.twitter.com/Xnpx8swQRa
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) February 26, 2023
There are going to be some growing pains, but ultimately I think people will like the results of these new MLB rules. Shorter games with more action without really changing the fundamentals of how the game is played is a win for everyone.