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Happy Opening Day Week! Why are MLB fans riled up about the new rules?



Thursday, March 30 will be the 2023 opening day for Major League Baseball and, in my book, the official kick-off of American spring. But even though for the first time in years, all 30 MLB teams will be playing on Opening Day (what splendor?!) there is a bit of heartburn with fans as the season kicks off due to some new rules. 

Earlier this year, the MLB announced a few rule changes for the upcoming season, most notably, the addition of a pitch clock as well as some other changes to pitching procedures. 

The new rule will only allow 15 seconds for a pitcher to make their throw when the bases are empty and 20 seconds with runners on base.Failure to begin the “movement to pitch” before the expiration of 15 minutes will result in an automatic ball. 

Batters will also have to abide by the clock and square up to the plate before 8 seconds are left on the pitch clock. Failure to comply will result in an automatic strike. 

Additionally, pitchers will only be allowed to attempt pick offs or step off the mound twice unless a runner advances then the two allowances are reset. 

As with all rules in baseball, there are some exceptions and allowances according to umpires etc. But the gist is that MLB wants their games to be shorter and in testing the pitch clock in the minor leagues, they saved about 26 minutes off average game time. 

People have some thoughts. 

Some analysts think the clock is a good thing which will help games stay on track but most mainstream fans and players think, much like play review introduced several years ago, that it’s not in the spirit of baseball which has a grand tradition of being a high tension, slow burn of a game. 

Here are some reactions: 

This reminder of the moments we’ll lose rushing through 

These analysts think players will like it 

Major names are asking for it to be eliminated 

Some fans really don’t care about analyst hot takes 

Some players are still pretty confused by the new rule 

Some fans are pointing out it’s tough to enjoy a live game with such a rush 

Some fans think it’s going to be okay after seeing it in practice

Some analysts really really love the pitch clock 

But still most fans think it’s a pretty dumb idea to only save an average of 25 minutes.

Time will tell if the pitch clock achieves what the MLB wants it to achieve which is to bring more fans back to the games both in person and on TV. 


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