MLB Adds New Rules, is it Good or Bad for Baseball?

SAN JOSE, CALIF⸺This 2023 Season, the MLB (Major League Baseball) has made many new rule changes in an attempt to make games more enjoyable for fans.

Among the several new rules, one change would be the shift rule. This rule states that all infielders must be on the infield dirt by the time the pitch is thrown. Meaning that  players would have less time to field the ball. In previous seasons, some infielders would set up far back on the line between the infield and outfield which would allow fielders to have a wider range of coverage around the field. Now with the new rule changes, there has been an increase in all league wide batting averages due to the fact that infielders have a lower chance of getting to the ball that was just hit as quickly anymore. 

Infielders set up on the outfield lin before the pitch before the new shift rule was created

Photo Credit: Pexels

In addition to the shift rule is the disengagement rule, this new rule only allows pitchers to attempt two pick offs per plate appearance on the opposing team. Pickoffs would count as a disengagement along with stepping off the mound or fake pickoff attempts. If a runner advances to the next base, then the disengagement resets.  This new rule has been added because of the lack of stolen bases during the past seasons. When a pitcher uses up his two disengagements, the opposing runner is almost guaranteed to be safe in an attempt to steal because the pitcher is no longer able to pick off the runner. 

Another rule that has been changed is the pitch clock rule. Pitchers now only have 15 seconds between each pitch when there are empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on base. The clock starts when the catcher catches the ball and when the pitcher starts his delivery. Hitters must be ready to hit when there are eight seconds left on the clock. If the pitcher violates this rule, he will be given an automatic ball. If a hitter violates the rule he will be given an automatic strike. Pitchers are able to have two disengagements for pick off attempts or to just step off the mound. Hitters can call timeout once in their at bat. This rule would allow for the game to go by quicker in between each pitch. 

In addition to many of the other rules, the MLB has also decided to change base sizes from 15 inches to 18 inches. The reason for this change is because there have been many collisions between runners and defensive players because of the limited space on the bases during plays. With the increased base size, we hope to see less injuries on the bases. We should also expect to see more stolen bases, runners attempting to take another base, infield hits, and acrobatic double plays because runners will be able to reach the base quicker. 

“I think these new changes will really make watching baseball even more fun. I’m excited to see the new cool plays that may occur since infielders now have less time to react. Hopefully these new rules can also attract more fans” says Rosie Stewart, a Junior at Silver Creek High School. 

I think these new rule changes will definitely make games go by quicker  in the future. Now that there is almost no wasted time during games, fans are able to be fully engaged in what is going on. It may be more challenging for players to adjust to the new rules but I think eventually these new rules will also attract more fans now that games will be more interesting to watch. This season, fans should expect to see more hits and stolen bases which overall make games more fun to watch. For SC students who are interested in watching more MLB games, we have our very own team in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants. Going to games can be a great event to watch with friends and family. You should definitely go support! 

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