At least consider watching baseball this season

Graphic by Carleen Loney/ @shloneys

The new rules announced for the 2023 season might just make the game more exciting

Baseball fans aren’t known to be receptive to rule changes within their sport, and I am usually no different. That is, until I heard about the new rules announced for the 2023 season.

From the start of spring training, players have had to get used to bigger bases, restrictions on defensive shifts, and a pitch clock. While it has been a learning curve, these rules promise to quicken the pace of action and encourage defensive plays.

The new pitch clock is undoubtedly the biggest change. From now on, pitchers will have up to 15 seconds to throw the ball if the bases are empty, and 20 if there is a runner on base. There will also be a 30-second timer between batters. If the batter violates the time limit, they get a strike. If it’s the pitcher, the batter gets a ball.

This new rule may make games shorter — and believe me, most spectators would appreciate that — but most importantly, it will make the action unfold quicker. It will definitely make the experience more enjoyable and engaging for fans.

The pitcher will now also have only three attempts to throw to first base to get a runner out. If the third attempt fails, the runner gets to advance a base. Because of the limit, stealing bases might become a more common occurrence.

The pitch clock and new defensive shift restrictions will also favour batting averages and the athletic plays that baseball players are known for. 

The defensive shift restrictions entail that the four infielders must be within the diamond when the pitch is thrown. Two players must be on either side of second base, which means they cannot switch sides based on where the batter aims most.

Because of this, batting averages are likely to go up and more runners will be on bases, giving infielders more opportunities for defensive plays. It will also encourage singles and on-field action.

Ironically, this change brings back traditional infielder alignments and the plays that tended to happen before infielders started placing themselves wherever they are more likely to catch the ball.

Meanwhile, the square bases will go from being 15 inches wide to 18. Some argue that this will create more stealing, but the MLB mainly wanted to make stealing and base-running safer.

Luckily, players have all of spring to train and adjust to these new rules and prepare for the regular season. These changes guarantee an exciting 2023 season and a new era in baseball. I can’t wait to tune in to the home openers, and I hope you will too.


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