MLB faces backlash against new regulations

Photo courtesy of Jose Francisco Morales, Unsplash

By Jeremy Torres

The MLB was set to release some new rules following the coming offseason. These new rules included bigger bases for the safety of runners and fielders as well as a  new pitch clock to make sure pitchers weren’t able to take up too much time per pitch. This will also hopefully shorten the length of games overall. Finally the MLB will also ban what they call the shift, which is a defensive move that sees position players realign from their traditional starting points on the baseball diamond. 

Now that spring training has begun, we have been able to see these rules put into effect. Not many people are happy, players or fans. It will take some getting used to since these players are being put into a path they’ve never known. 

Pitchers are given 15 seconds between each pitch. If the batter is not in the box and ready to hit by the eighth second in the timer, the game takes a timeout and the batter earns an automatic strike making him down 0-1. The first player to do this was San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.

“I might be down 0-1 a lot this year,” Machado told Bally Sports San Diego following the infraction. “It’s super fast. There’s definitely going to be an adjustment period, but I’m going down in the history books.” 

These pitch clocks are meant to make games shorter and more enjoyable to fans.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, a game between the Padres and Mariners last month took just 2 hours and 29 minutes, which is about 40 minutes under the average game last season. 

However making games shorter could come at a cost. 

In a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox the game was tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning with bases loaded and two outs. The batter Cal Conley was in the box with a full count hoping to win the game for his team. But these new rules said Conley had a batting infraction and didn’t get into the box in time. This caused him to receive an automatic strike and end the game. 

Passan calls this “The new reality.” 

Obviously this event caused an uproar on Twitter from players and fans alike. Many people complained saying these new rules are ruining the game, making it no longer fun. One of the biggest criticisms is that pitchers can’t express their personality anymore with the new restrictions.