On Friday, Major League Baseball held a vote to pass a set of rules that are focused on increasing the pace of play and an uptick in action.
The league most recently implemented the designated hitter into the National League prior to the 2022 season, and prior to that, the three-batter minimum became a permanent rule with its inception in 2020.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, MLB, in conjunction with members from multiple committees were present for the vote:
The league’s competition committee, composed of six ownership-level representatives, four players and one umpire, approved a pitch clock of 15 seconds with empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on, a defensive alignment that must include two fielders on each side of the second-base bag with both feet on the dirt as well as rules limiting pickoff moves and expanding the size of bases.
These rules have been tested in the Minor leagues with a large enough sample size that the shortening of games was certainly addressed and Minor league games were consistently time at under 2 hours, 30 minutes when the pitch clock was enforced.
MLB is focused on pace of play and an offensive push to try and bridge the gap between dominant pitching and an attempt to create scoring opportunities whereas, before these changes, there wouldn’t have been. However, there was a disconnect between the league and the MLB Players Union in how they voted.
The vote was not unanimous. Player representatives voted no on the shift and pitch-clock portions of changes.
Because the owners and MLB hold a majority of the vote, they didn’t require the say of the MLBPA and can ultimately push through whichever rule changes they please.
With the brand of baseball that fans have become accustomed to on the verge of changing, even slightly, the rules will be a splash a cold water when a hard line drive isn’t caught by the ‘rover’ defender positioned in short right field.
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