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Elephant Rumblings: MLB announces rule changes for 2023

MLB news roundup

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MLB Rules Press Conference Photo by Eve Kilsheimer/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s the dang weekend, Athletics Nation!

Yesterday, MLB published their new rules for next year’s season, many of which have been tested out in the minors and in the independent Atlantic League over the last few years.

As shown above, all three new rules are pretty major changes to the game. First off is the pitch clock, which has proven its effectiveness in the minors. Pitchers and hitters will have a clock visible to them that counts down remaining time between pitches. As explained, pitchers will have an additional 5 seconds when there are runners, but otherwise have a 15 second span between pitches once the batter has addressed the plate. If you’ve been to a game in the minors in the last couple years, you would have witnessed pitchers throwing to a clock and may not have even noticed it. This is a change that actually directly impacts one of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s main goals: shortening the average length of games. The pitch clock has nearly shaved a half hour off of game times in the leagues its been implemented in.

The rule that’s made the most commotion is the limitations imposed on defensive shifts. Limits are all based around infielder positioning, two on either side of second base. Outfielders aren’t limited from joining the infield for defensive positioning, but there always needs to be a pair of players in the shale on either side of 2B. The last rule added is an increase in the size of bases. The change in size is focused towards the reduction of player collisions.

It’s worth noting that these rules have all been implemented by the MLB despite the player representatives on the league’s Competition Committee voting against the pitch clock and shift ban.

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