NEW YORK — Baseball could look a lot different in 2023.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball players agreed to let the league institute a number significant on-field rule changes, namely a pitch clock, banning the shift and larger bases.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred believes new rules in recent years have are “addressing organic changes that have taken place” in baseball.
“I think the new rule provision is really important for the sport,” Manfred told USA TODAY Sports. “I think we owe it to our fans to get the best form of the game on the field and in front of them as soon as we can.”
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Initiatives to speed up the game haven’t had much success, with the average game time topping out at 3 hours and 11 minutes last year.
“The game organically went from a 2 ½-hour game to being a 3:10 game. All we’re trying to do is put it back,” Manfred said. “Organically, the home run, the strikeout the walk, the three true outcomes, became much more dominant. The changes we’re talking about are reversing that trend. It’s not like we’re talking about a radical alteration of the game for no reason.”
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Some of the biggest questions remaining are about how exactly shifting will be regulated. Will four players have to be on the infield dirt? Will two players have to be on each side of second base?
They’re still working on that.
“Part of that is going to be the conversations that take place with the players and the context of the new competition committee,” Manfred said. “There are two versions of the rule: One foot on theskin, and the other one actually regulates people around second base.
“I’m not wedded to either one, I’m trying to get input and try to make the best changes.”