2/27/2023 by Claire Overton
The 2023-24 season for Major League Baseball has begun, and it is looking different this year. The bases are different, there is a pitch timer and teams can no longer shift defensively for certain batters.
Teams were warned that there would be no grace period with the new rules. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, “you feel the difference…no question about it.”
The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves have both personally experienced the rule changes in a way that has never happened before… a called third strike to end the game in a tie. With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count, Braves infielder Cal Conley was up to bat. It is part of the new rules this year that the batter needs to be alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark of the pitch timer. If the batter fails to do so, then an automatic strike will be given to the batter. When Conley was not alert to the pitch by the 8-second mark, an automatic strike was given to him, giving him his third strike and ending the game.
“These are the kind of things that tell you why we’re starting this right now,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker. “You never know what might happen. That instance right there shows you what could happen.”
By starting the rules without a grace period in Spring Training, teams can hopefully encounter all of the new possible calls that will happen going forward.
Many of the rules were actually tested out last year in the Minor League. When a survey was conducted about adjusting to the new rules, 90% of Minor Leaguers said it took them a month or less to adjust. With Opening Day just over a month away, hopefully MLB players will be adjusted to the new rules.