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New MLB Rules for 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift, and more

MLB

MLB
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New MLB Rules for 2023: Pitch Clock, Shift, and more

Rob Manfred is at it again. MLB voted to implement several rule changes for the 2023 season. In hopes to hasten the pace of the game, rules such as a pitch clock and banned shifts will be placed into effect.

The league’s competition committee, which consists of owners, players, and umpires, voted on the rule changes Friday morning. The vote was not unanimous, as sources say player representatives voted no on the shift ban and pitch clock.

These rules have long been tested in the minor leagues. It’ll now be time to see how they truly take part in MLB. Let’s take a look at each one.

The pitch clock

The pitch clock rule will consist of two parts: 15 seconds when bases are empty, and 20 seconds with runners on. This rule is pretty strict, for both the offense and defense. The catcher must be in position when the timer hits 10 seconds. The hitter must have both feet in the box and be ‘ready’ by 8 seconds. For the pitcher, they must be in motion by the expiration of the clock. Any violation by the pitcher/catcher will result in an automatic ball. A violation by the batter will result in an automatic strike.

While the rule isn’t liked by MLB players, it has proven to make the game faster in the minors. This year, minor league games have clocked in around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Many see this as a more ideal time for a baseball game.

The shift

Perhaps one of the more extreme rule changes, the shift will be no more. No more four-man outfield or all the infielders on the right side. All four infielders need to be on the dirt, and in their standard position spots.

Significantly, there’s a new twist to the banned shifts. The position of defensive players can now be reviewed. If the position of the player is deemed illegal, the batting team can either choose to accept the outcome of the play or take an automatic ball. Similar idea as flags in the NFL, allowing two possible outcomes on a review.

Pick offs and step offs

This rule change goes along with the pitch clock. Pitchers can only pick-off/step-off twice in an at-bat. The pitch clock will reset after one of the two actions happens. A pitcher can pick off a third time, however, if they fail to record an out, it will count as a balk. Many can expect more stolen bases as a result of fewer pick-offs. And of course, speeding up the game.

Bases

One of the smaller rules implemented will be the increase in the size of the bases. With the expectation of reducing collisions, the bases will go from 15 to 18 square inches. Less distance between each bag, and hopefully fewer collisions resulting in injury.

Mound visits

Finally, the last rule to go into effect will be mound visits. As it stands, each team gets 5 mound visits in a game. The new change will mean teams can receive an extra mound visit in the ninth inning if all prior mound visits have been used.

The average MLB game in 2022 takes 3 hours and 4 minutes to complete. Despite Rob Manfred being a horrible commissioner, these new rule changes give hope for MLB and the game’s future.

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