After being approved by a joint competition committee this past October, Major League Baseball is introducing 3 new rules for the 2023 baseball season in an effort to speed up the pace of games and create more exciting action on the field.
As the most significant set of rule changes since the adoption of the designated hitter in 1973, these rules are set to impact all aspects of the game.
To ensure that these rules were fair and playable, all rule changes were play-tested in more than 8,000 minor league games before implementation into the Major League and were enforced during spring training games to allow for an adjustment period for players before opening day.
As the average nine-inning MLB game typically lasts for around 3 hours, even reaching up to 8 hours, baseball has been criticized for being a slow-paced sport compared to other sports.
This has been attributed to a downhill trend in viewership, with the World Series in 2022 receiving an average of 11.8 million viewers, 50% down from the audience in 2016.
The three biggest changes include: a pitch clock, ending the shift and limiting pick off attempts.
Only time will tell if these rule changes will impact player performance.
Reactions from baseball fans have mixed.
Jonathan Williams is a masters student at USC. He hopes the rule changes will allow more people to share his love of the sport.
Jonathan Williams: You have these baseball traditionalists that are just aren’t... they don’t like any any move, like they don’t want any sort of change. They don’t want any sort of change in direction or changing of the guard. I think the new rules will really just help grow the game.
Taj Khan is a political science major who gravitates towards fast paced sports.
Taj Khan: I like football and basketball more. Baseball is very confusing, and it’s way too long... So it’s going to speed up the game for sure is going to be awesome.
Oscar Brito is a junior journalism major that appreciates baseball in its original lengthy state.
Oscar Brito: it’s part of the rule now. It’s literally in the rulebook. So it’s you can’t really be mad. You have to just actually follow the rules. So it’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the rule. So I understand. I’d be pissed though, as a fan.
However, the most influential change came with the new pitching rule which forces pitchers to start their motion before the expiration of a 15 to 20 second timer depending on if there’s a run around base, cutting the time of a baseball game down by 20 minutes, a huge transition from the reset mechanic that pitchers often utilize to prolong their time.
With opening night baseball underway, fans have all different opinions on these new rules that will be enforced tonight. What it means for the future of the MLB will be decided...one strike at a time.
For Annenberg Media, I’m Alexis Lara.