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The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson


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MLB rule changes yield incredible results

The overall opinion has been great as the opening season comes to a close.
Andrew Tropp
A photo of Yankee Stadium full of excited baseball fans

As the 2023 MLB season comes to an end, the biggest story of the year without a doubt has been the massive success of the three major rule changes put into effect at the start of the season. Late last September, Robert Manfred announced three major rule changes including a pitch clock, larger bases, and a restriction on infield shifts. Initially, most baseball fans resented the new rules, fearing that it would ruin the sport they love. However, after an entire season, the general consensus on the rules has changed, as most people believe that they have saved the game of baseball. 

The most controversial rule among the fans and players was the implementation of a pitch clock. The pitch clock aimed to cut down the time of baseball games, which has been slowly increasing over the past few years, and it was a complete success. The average MLB game has been shortened by nearly half an hour, as the games are back to the length seen in the 80’s and 90’s. The shortening of the game has paid dividends as average attendance per game is the highest it has been since 2017, and MLBTv viewership is up by over 25 percent.

When Manfred announced the rule changes, the bigger bases seemed to go under the radar for the most part, but as soon as the season began they were definitely noticed. Along with the three pickoff attempts per plate appearance rule, the bigger bases have resulted in the most stolen bases per game since 1997, with 0.72 steals per game on average. The larger bases allow for more action on the basepaths, and more exciting games, which was exactly what MLB needed.

The shift restrictions have resulted in perhaps the most important changes out of all of the rules. Batting Average, On Base Percentage, Slugging, and OPS are all up from last year and many stars previously limited by the shift are back to their old successful ways. Players including Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, Corey Seager, and Josh Naylor have all improved noticeably due to the restrictions on the shift. 

So what does all of this truly mean for the game of baseball? Numbers are up, the game is more exciting, and people are finally starting to go back to baseball games. While talking to MLB fan James Renz (‘26) he noted how “Watching as a fan [the rule changes] made the game a lot better”. So as the MLB regular season comes to an end, it appears that the once controversial rule changes are here to stay, and Major League Baseball couldn’t be more happy.

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