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The new rules to make baseball more agile: bigger bases, 15 seconds to throw and defensive restrictions


The MLB seeks to cut the duration of the games by up to half an hour and revitalize the games with more stolen bases and hits

Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams with the new shot clock in the background.Lynne Sladky (AP)

The United States wants to revolutionize baseball, one of its most popular sports.

The league, the MLB for its acronym in English, returns this Thursday with a new season.

Among the favorites to be crowned are the current champions Houston Astros, with José Altuve and Jeremy Peña, who will only see action in his second year, where he already wears a ring.

Also included are the San Diego Padres, who have never won the World Series and are hoping to do so with the help of Dominican star Juan Soto.

The Atlanta Braves, the Mets and the New York Yankees, in addition to the Los Angeles Dodgers appear in the pools waiting for a franchise that gives the bell.

Japan conquered the top of world baseball a few days ago.

The World Classic had Shoei Ohtani as a great figure, a phenomenon that defeated the United States in the final.

The Americans have only won one of the five World Cups held since 2006, underscoring the great competition that exists in a sport that began to go international towards the end of the 19th century.

The hunt to get hold of Ohtani, who today plays for the Los Angeles Angels, will be one of the things to watch in the 2023 campaign. The Japanese was last year the eleventh best hitter and the sixth best pitcher in the MLB.

He is the first since 1893 to appear in the top fifteen in both categories.

His days in the Los Angeles second team are numbered and it is difficult for him to extend beyond the summer.

What makes the current season special are the new rules implemented by the league authorities.

The MLB has suffered a crisis since 2012, as attendance at stadiums has fallen 14% since then.

In 2022 this fell 5.7% compared to 2019, the last season that was played in its entirety before the pandemic, according to



Last year, 67.5 million fans attended the diamond, almost a million less than three years ago.

It is the worst number since 1997. The World Series, the final, does not fare much better on television.

The 2022 game was watched by 11.7 million people, the second worst number in fifty years of television ratings (the lowest was the 2020 final between the Dodgers and Rays, with 9.7 million).

MLB officials have put new rules on the table to inject some vitality into what was the first professional sport in the US Sports fans have complained in various polls about the length of the games.

“Two obvious themes have emerged from our research.

The first is that fans want a fresher pace of play.

They want shorter games with better rhythm.

When you ask them how long a baseball game should last, the immediate answer is two hours and 30 minutes," Morgan Sword, MLB vice president, said this week.

Moises Castillo, second baseman for the White Sox, second before catching a hit by the Cubs. Ross D. Franklin (AP)

Here is a summary of the adjustments that MLB will test in the 2023 season:

15 seconds to revolutionize baseball

To reduce the average game time, which often exceeds three hours, MLB officials have looked first at



Pitchers dictate the cadence of the game depending on the condition of their arms.

Those days have come to an end.

Starting this Thursday, players will have 15 seconds to begin their movement on the mound from the moment they receive the ball from the



When there are men on base, the clock will have 20 seconds.

If the pitcher breaks the rule, the account will automatically add a ball.

As in the minor leagues, hitters will have 30 seconds to reach the batter's box.

If they don't, you'll get a



This rule has caused the average of preseason games to be shortened by 26 minutes, to stand at two hours, 35 minutes.

limit to


This rule is derived from the previous one.



is the throw that the pitcher makes to first base to prevent a player from the opposing team from stealing second base.

Before there was no restriction on the number of throws a pitcher could make to his first baseman, but now they can only throw twice.

If there is a third, the runner will automatically advance to the next one.

This rule is intended to give more movement and action to the game, which results in the stealing of bases by more athletic players.

This may bring back a style seen in the 80s, where teams included very fast players in their formations.

In that decade, the American and National Leagues, which make up the MLB, added more than 3,000 stolen bases per year.

But that trend has faded.

The league hasn't reached that figure for eleven years.

Restriction to defensive formation

According to Morgan Sword, fans want to see, in addition to increased base stealing, more hits and doubles.

Starting this Thursday, the first and second base defensive players must be positioned to the right of the second plate.



and third baseman will be positioned on the left.

All four must have both feet on the clay at the time of the pitcher's release.

With this measure, the league intends to break a very popular defensive lock that pushed the third baseman towards second and the other three players placed as outfielders, which drastically reduced the space for hits.

The formation has proven to affect left-handed hitters more, who were more frequently exposed to


on fly balls to the right.

The scheme is responsible for the fact that the batting average has fallen since 2012 and the strikeouts have risen.

The penalty for not complying with the new rule will be an automatic ball for the pitcher's account.

Jeimer Candelario, of the Nationals, steals second base in a game against the Astros.Rich Storry (USA TODAY Sports)

bigger bases

The width of these has gone from 15 inches (38 centimeters) to 18 (45 centimeters).


does not change its dimensions.

With this adjustment, the MLB intends to encourage steals, while giving defensive players more room to operate in

double plays

and to eliminate opponents who sweep after the run and avoid collisions that could cause injuries to both.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-03-30

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