Some interesting rules changes are coming to baseball in 2023.

hawkifann

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So the runner can essentially get a 45’ lead if the pitcher has met his limits? Seems dumb.
No. You can throw over a 3rd time without penalty if the pickoff is successful, so while a runner would likely extend the lead another step or two, it’s not going to lead to ridiculous leadoffs. Runner still has to stay engaged to the move. EDIT: My original post crossed the ball penalty tied to pitch clock with a balk penalty charged to disengagements. And, as noted, catcher can still back pick without limit.

I don’t love the rule, but I don’t think it will be a disaster.
 
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hawkifann

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Shift restrictions are being tested in the minors this year. They have been testing a couple different options at different levels. One being must have 2 players on either side of second and the other being can shift but everyone must have their feet on the dirt at the pitch. I watch a lot of AAA games and the pitch clock has cut about a half hour off the games this year.
I am a regular listener of “The Compound” podcast with Ian Happ, Dakota Mekkes and Zach Short. Dakota talks about the pitch clock a lot (he’s a reliever with AAA Iowa) and he always talks about how much he loves it. Just this week he made a comment about MLB games dragging because pitchers take so long.

I was curious if MLB would ever actually implement it or if they would just keep it in the minors and have these guys sped up already by the time they landed to phase quicker pitching in. I have noticed that younger pitchers tend to work more quickly and I’m sure that’s due to having thrown multiple seasons with a pitch clock. I’ve been to a lot of AAA games here in Charlotte and rarely ever even notice the pitch clock. The game just moves a little faster.
 
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SoDakHawk

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There is no need for a clock in baseball. Just empower the umps to keep the game moving along. Pitcher stalls, issue a warning, stalls again, call a ball against him. Same for batters, step out and delay, assess a strike. Players will adjust to how the game is called.

Eliminating the shift is dumb. Batters need to hit it where they ain't.

They're ruining the natural beauty of baseball.
 
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hawkifann

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I get the desire to speed the game up and they should, but I don’t want anything on the field of play being dictated via new rules until everything outside of the field of play has been cut off. No more front office telling the managers what to do during the game, no more calling pitches from the dugout, no more fielding charts from somebody in the operations dept in every player’s pocket, etc.

Hawk let it slip one night a few years ago that no Sox catcher called his own game since Karkovice……25 years ago. That extra 7 or 8 seconds to relay every pitch in from the dugout through the catcher on both teams adds another half hour onto the game
1. I don’t believe that relaying signals from the dugout adds 7-8 seconds, that’s nuts.

2. What do fielding charges, pitcher notes, etc., have to do with pace of play? This rule change will force all of that activity into a time box, anyway.
 

hawkifann

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Pitch clock fine, positioning fine. Awarding a ball or strike based on time - WTF?
If you’re going to have a rule, how will you enforce it if there’s no penalty? If there’s no penalty, then you’re saying “Here’s the rule, follow it if you prefer”. The penalty of a ball or strike is pretty low in the grand scheme.
 

hawkifann

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There is no need for a clock in baseball. Just empower the umps to keep the game moving along. Pitcher stalls, issue a warning, stalls again, call a ball against him. Same for batters, step out and delay, assess a strike. Players will adjust to how the game is called.

Eliminating the shift is dumb. Batters need to hit it where they ain't.

They're ruining the natural beauty of baseball.
LOL….I’m fine with, but not a massive fan of, the pitch clock (I think people will mostly not notice it ultimately), but this is absurd. We can‘t get umps to call a consistent trike zone without significant grading/reporting, but we’re just going to have “umps keep the game moving”? You’ll have some umps getting antsy at 8 seconds and some not paying attention until almost a minute has passed.

I heard an interesting bit on the Effectively Wild podcast earlier this week. It may have stemmed from a listener question, but someone at Fangraphs dug into data on check swing appeals and the results were pretty surprising. Of all the appeals this year on a play where you’d think there’s typically between a 40% and 60% likelihood that the hitter swung, you’d expect the range of umps granting the strike to be pretty similar. But no, that’s not what the numbers show. The most generous ump (they didn’t give names on the podcast, but the data is available somewhere) called the swing 44% of the time, which makes sense. The lowest? 5%. This is across each ump crew doing 125+ games by this point. The 5% is either not paying attention most of the time, or he’s just not going to give it unless it’s egregious. This is a good example of why we can’t “just let the umps regulate”. Either have a pitch clock or don’t, but don’t hand umps some arbitrary, undefined thing to make choices on.
 

hawkifann

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One sneaky-good add IMHO is the larger bases, going from 15“ to 18”. This will subtly increase offense and movement on the bases. It’s going to mean, effectively, 1.5” less to run between home and first and between 3rd and home and it’s going to mean 4.5” less space between 1st and 2nd and also between 2nd and 3rd.

I’m not sure it’s going to lead to more infield singles - the hitter has to cover 1.5” less space, but the first baseman is also 1.5” closer to his fielders, and a touch more than that on the corner of the bag on certain angles, so I think that will be mostly a wash - it will give a little more space to avoid collision if there’s a bad throw.

In the margins, I think it is going to mean more safe calls - but I think it’s also going to lead to more aggressiveness on the bases, which may mean more runners thrown out (exciting play), as guys who might not have gone previously may take a shot.

Here’s the best part, though — I think it’s going to massively reduce the number of times a guy slides in head first and just comes off the bag. That 3 extra inches will make a difference.
 

trippnschmidt

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I go to a fair number of single A games (I live a few miles from the Kannapolis Cannonballers stadium). The pitch clock is awesome. I can take my kids to a game and it is going to be over in just over 2.5 hours. It is consistently between 2 hours and 15 minutes and 2 hours and 45 minutes. I have not been to a game that has gone over 3 hours yet this year.

I am also a Brewers fan and watch a lot of their games on TV. I can count on one hand the number of games this year that have been under 3 hours. Most are well over 3 hours.
They don't have commercials for minor league games. Add that extra time between innings, then those games are the same time as the majors. I like the pitch clock. I think they should be able to shift. If they go to robo-umps I'll stop watching.
 

hawkifann

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Eliminating the shift is dumb. Batters need to hit it where they ain't.

They're ruining the natural beauty of baseball.

The vast majority of baseball history had no shift….so was the game not naturally beautiful? Ted Williams was shifted and a couple others on very rare instances until the last 5-10 years. Ted Williams himself talked very openly about consulting some other hitters for help because “just going the other way” wasn’t easy.…and he was doing that in an era with less velocity, less movement on pitches, fewer specialty relievers who come in fresh in the late innings, etc.

Also keep in mind how they’re pitched. If you’re running a heavy shift on a guy, you’re going to be pounding him inside, because you want him to pull into it. If the defense is balanced, you’ll see some of those guys pitched away more. All-in-all, it’ll stop those line drive singles from being caught in shallow right (though we’ll see if people start shifting OFs more now), which I think is a good thing.

Shifting the OF could be interesting. Pull RF in to play almost like a rover against a lefty, CF shifts to extreme RC and LF shifts way over towards center. That would be a riskier defensive move than the infield shift and also provide more incentive to the hitter to go the other way.

What I think this will do is put more of a premium on defensive players with range. Suddenly a guy who can play an elite defensive 2B with range has way more value than he might have the last 8-10 years.
 
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SoDakHawk

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LOL….I’m fine with, but not a massive fan of, the pitch clock (I think people will mostly not notice it ultimately), but this is absurd. We can‘t get umps to call a consistent trike zone without significant grading/reporting, but we’re just going to have “umps keep the game moving”? You’ll have some umps getting antsy at 8 seconds and some not paying attention until almost a minute has passed.

I heard an interesting bit on the Effectively Wild podcast earlier this week. It may have stemmed from a listener question, but someone at Fangraphs dug into data on check swing appeals and the results were pretty surprising. Of all the appeals this year on a play where you’d think there’s typically between a 40% and 60% likelihood that the hitter swung, you’d expect the range of umps granting the strike to be pretty similar. But no, that’s not what the numbers show. The most generous ump (they didn’t give names on the podcast, but the data is available somewhere) called the swing 44% of the time, which makes sense. The lowest? 5%. This is across each ump crew doing 125+ games by this point. The 5% is either not paying attention most of the time, or he’s just not going to give it unless it’s egregious. This is a good example of why we can’t “just let the umps regulate”. Either have a pitch clock or don’t, but don’t hand umps some arbitrary, undefined thing to make choices on.
It's as simple as this. One of the beautiful things about the game of baseball is there is no clock. Theoretically, a game could last forever. We don't count time, we count innings and outs. Adding any sort of clock destroys the fabric of the game.

So if adding a pitch clock is about getting games over quicker how do you justify banning the shift? Length of game is determined by how quickly the defense can get the offense to 3 outs to end the inning. Why would you take away the defense's ability to line up in the most efficient way to get the batter out?

Officials regulate in other sports, boxing officials, hockey officials both keep the play action moving along. Why change the rules of the sport when the rules aren't the problem, the officiating is the problem. Fix that first then come talk to me.
 
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SoDakHawk

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These rules changes are all just bullshit. Every MLB game I have ever been to, not once have I said this is taking too long, when is it over. I have many times lamented that time flew by, I was having fun and now the game is over. If I'm watching on TV at home and a game is dragging I can flip between games, I can go get a beer, I can go take a dump, and when I come back give me the score, inning, outs, count, and runners on base and I am 100% caught up and back in the game.

I hate Manfred and these A-holes ruining this game.
 

hawkifann

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The game changes over time, it always has.

I’m actually against banning the shift, but don’t care about the pitch clock. While it’s never taken the overall enjoyment of the game away from me, I don’t get excited when Steve Trachsel or Pedro Baez take 4 minutes on the mound between pitches. I really don’t notice the pitch clock at AAA games. I’m pretty much with you on banning the shift, but baseball changes over time - it always has. It’ll change more. Some changes won’t play out well and will be pulled back in.

I guess on the big 3 changes, I’m in favor of the bigger bags as both a safety thing and to slightly increase on-field action in the margins, I’m pretty ambivalent on the pitch clock and I’m against banning the shift, even as I can understand why they’re doing it.
 

JRHawk2003

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Montrose
These rules changes are all just bullshit. Every MLB game I have ever been to, not once have I said this is taking too long, when is it over. I have many times lamented that time flew by, I was having fun and now the game is over. If I'm watching on TV at home and a game is dragging I can flip between games, I can go get a beer, I can go take a dump, and when I come back give me the score, inning, outs, count, and runners on base and I am 100% caught up and back in the game.

I hate Manfred and these A-holes ruining this game.

Well said. I love the leisurely pace of baseball.
 
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hawkifann

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It is great in person when you are at the park drinking some beer, eating a hotdog, and just observing the game and people. When you are at home watching it on TV, it is absolutely brutal.
With the addition of so much influence from the sports books, too, those books want a snappy product that leads to a lot of betting traffic.
 

hawkjt

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My opinion:
1. Like the pitch clock.
2. Eliminate the infield shifts.
3 .keep umps out there but install a robot system for balls and strikes.
4. Bigger bases are ok.
5. Get rid of extra inning man on second crap.

Jus t my 2 cents.
Quicker games would be nice but more hitting is needed which might offset rules to quicken game.

I watch the White Sox most games but do not attend in person much since moving back to Iowa from Chicago.
 

BeepBeepInMyJeep

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One sneaky-good add IMHO is the larger bases, going from 15“ to 18”. This will subtly increase offense and movement on the bases. It’s going to mean, effectively, 1.5” less to run between home and first and between 3rd and home and it’s going to mean 4.5” less space between 1st and 2nd and also between 2nd and 3rd.

I’m not sure it’s going to lead to more infield singles - the hitter has to cover 1.5” less space, but the first baseman is also 1.5” closer to his fielders, and a touch more than that on the corner of the bag on certain angles, so I think that will be mostly a wash - it will give a little more space to avoid collision if there’s a bad throw.

In the margins, I think it is going to mean more safe calls - but I think it’s also going to lead to more aggressiveness on the bases, which may mean more runners thrown out (exciting play), as guys who might not have gone previously may take a shot.

Here’s the best part, though — I think it’s going to massively reduce the number of times a guy slides in head first and just comes off the bag. That 3 extra inches will make a difference.

it doesn’t matter on infield singles. Guys who get it down the line have a set number of steps between the box and first. Imagine if you just go out to run bases, there’s a good chance you might stutter or kind of take a half step at or near the base when you arrive, especially if you’re turning. Decent base runners basically always hit the bag in stride.
 

KuwaitHawk

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Baseball was awesome because it didn’t have a clock

the non-shift rule is so dumb it’s only because they want more scoring

might as well add the robot strike zone
Pitch clock good

Bigger base good

Shift restrictions BAD!!!
 

hawkifann

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it doesn’t matter on infield singles. Guys who get it down the line have a set number of steps between the box and first. Imagine if you just go out to run bases, there’s a good chance you might stutter or kind of take a half step at or near the base when you arrive, especially if you’re turning. Decent base runners basically always hit the bag in stride.
Fair point, I didn’t think about that piece of it, just the 1.5 inches. The 4.5” shorter distance to 2nd and then 3rd should definitely change some of the math on stolen bases and will make a difference.
 

tumorboy

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I'm curious to see with the pitch clock. What happens with pitcher velocity. Some of these guys take awhile to get set again before throwing max effort again.
 

hawkifann

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I'm curious to see with the pitch clock. What happens with pitcher velocity. Some of these guys take awhile to get set again before throwing max effort again.
It’ll be something to watch, but I don’t think it’ll be a huge difference, but in some situations, maybe enough to make a difference. To start, we’re probably already only talking about relievers because starters aren’t absolute max effort over 6 innings. If a guy is throwing 99, it’s not like he’s suddenly going to be at 96….but maybe he’ll throw more 97-98.

I would look at the young relievers who came up through the minors with the pitch clock. They shouldn’t be all that impacted because they’re already trained for it.
 
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tumorboy

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the shift rule is so bizarre to me. why don't hitters just hit the ball to the wide open field? lol
They're paid to hit the ball hard. Not for contact. The stats over 160 games say the best chance to generate runs is to hit the ball with max velocity.
 
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tumorboy

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It’ll be something to watch, but I don’t think it’ll be a huge difference, but in some situations, maybe enough to make a difference. To start, we’re probably already only talking about relievers because starters aren’t absolute max effort over 6 innings. If a guy is throwing 99, it’s not like he’s suddenly going to be at 96….but maybe he’ll throw more 97-98.

I would look at the young relievers who came up through the minors with the pitch clock. They shouldn’t be all that impacted because they’re already trained for it.
Craig Kimbrel's then.
 

blhawk

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There is no need for a clock in baseball. Just empower the umps to keep the game moving along. Pitcher stalls, issue a warning, stalls again, call a ball against him. Same for batters, step out and delay, assess a strike. Players will adjust to how the game is called.

Eliminating the shift is dumb. Batters need to hit it where they ain't.

They're ruining the natural beauty of baseball.
The shift has only been widely used the last 10-15 years. If anything it has ruined the natural beauty of baseball... they did just fine without it for well over a century
 

HawkRugged17

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The shift has only been widely used the last 10-15 years. If anything it has ruined the natural beauty of baseball... they did just fine without it for well over a century

Heard it mentioned yesterday on a podcast. The change that will happen is the LF will shift to short right for lefty hitters instead of the SS or 3B. The RF will shift to short left for righty hitters. The defense will continue to try and flood the field - softball style. :)
 

hawkifann

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Heard it mentioned yesterday on a podcast. The change that will happen is the LF will shift to short right for lefty hitters instead of the SS or 3B. The RF will shift to short left for righty hitters. The defense will continue to try and flood the field - softball style. :)
Some teams will likely try that against certain hitters for sure - but it at least increases the risk scenario for the defense. With today’s shift, you bunt or hit a weak grounder through 3B for a hit. Ok, you just took away a lefty power bat by making him take a weak ground ball single that’s not going to do a ton of damage most of the time.

Put LF in short RF and even if you’re hedging CF to LC, getting under a fly ball to medium LF is going to be a double and move runners. I don’t think teams will do it a ton and you’ll also see more guys working to get that fly ball out the other way.
 

Bro D

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I still don't understand why they have never added a safety base at 1B