In part because the game is so old, most baseball fans don’t think of the sport as one that changes very often. You’ve got your innings, your runs, your pitchers and catchers, etc. This off-season, though, Major League Baseball has made one huge change: it’s made the bases much bigger. In fact, these new base sizes have become the subject of some ridicule, as some users joke that the bases may continue to get larger every year until they take up the entire diamond.
Really, though, the bases have increased by 3 inches, from 15 to 18 inches. This will decrease the distance between bases by 4.5 inches.
The bases have gotten bigger in part to incentivize a part of the game that has been waning in popularity in recent years. According to an official press release from the MLB, the decreased distance between bases will encourage “offensive Clubs to attempt to steal bases more frequently and generally to be more aggressive on the basepaths.” The MLB also said that the increased base sizes could decrease injuries related to landing on bases.
The increased base sizes have been the subject of quite a bit of ridicule online since they were introduced, with some suggesting that the new bases are as large as pizza boxes, or at the very least, much larger than they really are.
Although the rule change that got the most attention online was the shift in base sizes, it wasn’t the only change MLB made to the rules for the upcoming season. In addition to the base size changes, they’re also instituting a new shift rule for outfielders that ensures there are always two outfielders on either side of second base.
There’s also a new pitch clock which is designed to speed up the game. Pitchers must now begin their throwing motion within 15 seconds of receiving the ball from the catcher if there are no runners on base, and within 20 seconds if there are runners on base. Hitters also have a role to play here, as they are required to be in the batter’s box and ready for a pitch within eight seconds. MLB is also formalizing a rule that every half inning after the ninth begins with a runner on second base.
The MLB season is set to begin on Thursday, March 30 this year. For those without a cable subscription, there are a couple of streaming options available for watching the game.
Services like Hulu Live, YouTube TV, FuboTV, and Sling all provide streaming cable packages that will include most MLB games.
If you don’t have the money to burn on one of those more expensive packages, though, Peacock also offers a package that includes a game every Sunday morning, as well as plenty of historical games that you can stream.
Apple TV+, meanwhile, is the home for Friday night baseball doubleheaders, but not for the entire season. Instead, Apple runs weekly doubleheaders for 12 weeks, and you don’t even need a subscription to watch them. All you need is a device that can play Apple TV (like a smart TV or a tablet).
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