MLB tweaks rule changes before start of 2023 regular season

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

After much controversy surrounding the rule changes implemented, Major League Baseball has taken the feedback from the MLBPA and made some slight changes. There has been a lot talk around the specifics with the pitch clock with some pushing for more time for the batter to display “alertness” before earning an automatic strike.

MLB has announced in will not be altering the current pitch clock requirements. As things stands the pitch clock is 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on, while the batter is required to be in the box and “alert” to the pitcher with at least eight seconds left.

“On one hand, we are prepared to make adjustments based on input; On the other hand, we want to give it a chance to see how it plays out exactly over a period of adjustment in some regular-season games before we make any significant alterations.”
Rob Manfred

So despite some of the love and hate with the pitch clock from both the fans and players, MLB has decided to see how the pitch clock plays out in regular season baseball. The immediate results are clear. The average length of spring training games have reduced by over 25 minutes with average game-time dropping to 2 hours, 36 minutes.

Players are quickly adjusting to the new rules as pitch clock violations have fallen from 2.03 per game to 1.03 in the second week of spring training. Instead of backtracking on these rules, the recent the memo sent out by MLB addresses the handling of certain scenarios within the new rules.

Firstly, any malfunctions with PitchCom between the pitcher and catcher must be followed with the players immediately informing the umpires on the situation so that time can be granted.

Secondly, team bat boys and bat girls will be required to retrieve equipment in a timely manner, and if the league determines the performance isn’t adequate they could require the team to replace them. I for one am already LAUGHING at the thought of MLB tellling a team to replace their star players‘ son at bat boy because they fell they are slowing the game down.

Next, on any play that results in the pitcher being away from the mound, the 30 second between-batters clock will be delayed.

Finally, hitters who call their one allotted timeout during an at-bat will need to indicate to the umpire that he is really to resume play, thus allowing the umpire to tell the clock operator to resume the clock.

All of these tweaks to the the rule changes addressed in the memo sent out by MLB are small at the moment, but if the beginning of the regular season doesn’t go smoothly you can expect some more serious in season adjustments from Major League Baseball.