(WGN) – Players and fans will soon be faced with new rules in MLB games.
Major League Baseball announced three major rule changes for the 2023 season, each approved by a majority vote of the league’s competition committee on Friday.
According to MLB, the changes are intended to improve the safety and pace of play. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said each new rule has been “thoroughly tested and refined” in the minor leagues over the years.
“We have done extensive and continuous research with our fans, and some things are really clear,” Manfred said at a press conference on Friday. “First, the fans want the game to be faster. Second, fans want more action, more ball. Third, fans want to see more of the athleticism of our great players.
To make that happen, MLB officials voted to change three rules:
The league will now time pitchers on the mound, requiring them to start pitching within 15 seconds of each pitch and 20 seconds to have a runner on base when the base is empty. The pitcher can disengage from the rubber twice while hitting the ball – each time will result in a recoil. A batsman must enter the batsman’s penalty area within 8 seconds of the start of the clock, and one time out is allowed per move.
When throwing, there must be two infielders on either side of second base, and each infielder’s feet must be on the infield boundary when the pitcher is on the rubber. Also, infielders cannot switch sides unless there is a substitution.
Starting in 2023, the size of first, second and third bases will increase from 15 inches to 18 inches, a move the league says is for player safety.
The complete solution of the new regulations in 2023 can be consulted on MLB.com.
However, not everyone in the major leagues likes the new rules. Major League Baseball Players Association, the collective bargaining group for Major League Baseball players, issue a statement Shortly after the adoption of the new rules, players on the gaming committee voted against the stadium clock and the shift ban.