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The Student News Site of Lyman High School

Greyhound Growl

The Student News Site of Lyman High School

Greyhound Growl

America’s Game Just Got Better

The effects the new MLB rule changes had on the 2023 season.

Photo: Sentinel Tribune

Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s Commissioner, has made quite a few changes to the game this season. While some rules have been in the minor leagues since 2021, this is the first time the rules will see the big leagues. The main goal of these new rules is to make games quicker and more entertaining. 

We are more than halfway through the season and they are already very effective. As of Aug. 8, MLB game attendance increased nine percent compared to last year, and an average game length of just two hours and 38 minutes, down 26 minutes from last year according to MLB.com.. While that nine percent seems small, it actually means four million more people have attended games this year.

The New Rules:

The Pitch Clock: 

A completely new rule has come to MLB. Pitchers now only have 15 seconds to throw the pitch and 20 seconds with any runners on base. Hitters need to be in the batter’s box and looking at the pitcher with eight seconds left on the pitch clock. The catcher has to be in the box and ready to catch at nine seconds. 

If the pitcher does not start their motion to pitch before the timer runs out, the pitcher will be charged one ball to the count. Contrary, if the batter does not enter the batter’s box before 8 seconds, the batter will be charged with a strike.

The Shift:

Before the pitch is thrown, infielders have to be on the infield dirt, or infield grass, and there have to be two infielders on each side of second base. Once the pitch is thrown, then the infielders are allowed to move around. Infielders are to remain at their assigned position when they start the inning, to when they finish the inning. Meaning they have to stay at their assigned position for the entirety of the inning. This is unless there is a mid-inning substitution, then the infield can be moved around. 

What They Are Changing:

The only rule that MLB had for infielders and the shift was that before the pitcher pitches the ball, all position players are to be within fair territory. While that rule is still in place, there are just now more restrictions.

Pickoffs:

Pitchers are allowed two disengagements per plate appearance. Disengagements include a pickoff attempt, faking a pickoff, or stepping off the rubber. Pickoffs are when a pitcher disengages from the rubber and throws to a fielder attempting to get the runner out. The number of disengagements are reset when a runner or runners advance a base within the same plate appearance. Each disengagement that pitcher commits after their first two result in a balk during the at bat. 

Also, batters are only allowed to call time and be granted it once per at bat. Allowing them to step out of the batter’s box and take some time to themselves.

What They Are Changing:

In previous years, pitchers were allowed as many disengagements as they wanted. As a result, pitchers would pick off a lot, and runners would not be tempted to steal. MLB wanted to change this by limiting the amount of disengagements and increase action on the basepaths 

Bases:

This year has brought a major increase to the size of bases. Bases are now 18 square inches, compared to 15 square inches last year. Three square inches might not seem like a lot, but this increase makes the distance between first and second four and a half inches shorter, and the distance between home to first three inches shorter.

The Effects:

We are already seeing how much these new rules are affecting the game. Games are significantly shorter, but this hasn’t stopped the action. Batting average, on-base percentage, and average runs per game are all up from the past year. With the bigger bases, as of Aug. 17, this season has already surpassed last year’s total number of stolen bases by nearly 100, with a month and half of games left in the season. 

Two months into the season, avid baseball fans were already happy with these new changes. 70% approved of the pitch clock, 62% approved of the ban on the shift, and 65% approved of the bigger bases according to shu.edu. The disapproval ratings for these new rules changes among baseball fans have not surpassed 20%. 

Overall, these new changes to baseball have seen a lot of positives to the game so far. Fans are loving the rules as well as the shortened game time lengths. America’s game might be on the rise again.

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About the Contributor
Carter Stahl, Newspaper Editor
Hey! My name is Carter Stahl and I am a senior this year. I am the Editor-in-Chief on our Newspaper staff and have been here for 3 years now. I’ve really enjoyed writing many stories ranging from our football team to world news. I’m very excited for what’s to come this year and can’t wait for college.

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