If you didn’t think the new rules changed the way big leaguers play the game, think again. The newest rule book additions, covering everything from enlarged, pizza box-sized bases to how infielders can line up before a pitch, are being felt by players and viewers alike. For some players, it’s out with the old and in with the new, as the old ways are no longer legal.
Perhaps the most obvious comparative look comes from this Reddit thread, which highlighted a post from @pitchingninja. It shows Luis Garcia, pro Venezuelan baller and Houston Astros pitcher, throwing as he might have last season versus this season, when the new rules took effect. It’s a dramatic before and after that shows just how significant some of these MLB rule changes may prove to be.
One look at the old pitch (the one on the right) from Garcia and you can see what the league was trying to work out. It’s a little like the wind-up for a penalty kick in soccer, which has become increasingly ridiculous, as shooters try to gain any kind of advantage just before the kick and throw the goalkeeper one way or the other. Garcia does a little dance, hoping to get the batter out of rhythm and catch him off guard with a sneaky pitch.
The old pitch is a longer-winded one, something the league is trying to work out. Hence the new pitching clock, which limits pitchers to 20 seconds of gearing up before actually delivering the ball. But don’t worry, ball players have always found creative ways around the rules, from corked bats and pine tar to new defensive tactics. Pitchers in 2023 are already finding ways to stretch the new rules to the limit, like throwing a ball immediately as the batter returns from taking time.
Some argue that the players ought to be able to just play. Others like that the new rules are speeding up the game a bit and limiting fake outs at the mound. Whatever your thoughts on the new rules, the 2023 MLB season promises to be a little different. What we know so far is that the bases will be easier to find, pitchers will be operating a bit quicker, and teams at large will work hard to find loopholes in the new law book of the game.
What’s next in the bigs? Metal bats? Fewer innings if one team is way up? Robot umpires that use AI to determine whether a pitch is a ball or a strike? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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