When the new rules were announced for the 2023 MLB season, not many fans were thrilled. That’s typically the initial reaction to change; nobody likes it, even if it turns out to be good for them, which was the case in this instance. Offensive numbers were up across the board and there were more steals than ever, yet games were significantly shorter than they were before thanks to the pitch clock
There are always a few curmudgeons in the crowd that don’t want to admit they were wrong, but most fans have embraced the changes and understand they are better for the long-term health of the game. However, MLB is not finished making tweaks.
In the coming years, we could see automated strike zones (please!) and changes to the playoff format. Even as recently as next season, the pitch clock could be reduced even further. According to Jeff Passan, the rules committee is considering shortening the pitch clock from 20 seconds to 18 seconds with runners on base.
“Major League Baseball’s competition committee is weighing a proposal that would reduce the pitch clock with runners on base from 20 seconds to 18 next season, aiming to reverse a late-season trend that saw the average time of game increase by seven minutes, sources told ESPN,” Passan writes.
The shortening of the game has made baseball infinitely more enjoyable. During the regular season, you’re typically not having to stay up past 10:00 PM to watch your favorite team play, and during the playoffs, it’s even more impactful.
Playoff games were going on for over four hours regularly. That wasn’t the case this year, making them much more watchable. As more fans flock to baseball during the best matchups in October, it will have a major impact on the growth of the game, so it’s understandable why Major League Baseball wants to ensure game length doesn’t revert back to its old ways.
With that being said, there were an alarming number of pitchers injured this year compared to previous seasons, and players have pointed to the pitch clock. I don’t expect it to go anywhere because it’s fantastic for the game, but I also don’t feel the need to shorten the time between pitches even further.
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