Now that the 2023 Super Bowl is dead and buried and the so-called March Madness irritation will end by the end of the month, it is time to turn our minds to the truly important considerations of the coming baseball season. Major League Baseball is imposing several important rule changes this season, and it will be especially intriguing to see how those new rules play out.
I should say, as a matter of full disclosure, that I am a longtime fan of the game, and I put myself in the category of a “semi-traditionalist” when it comes to changes in the game. I still do not like the concept of the “designated hitter,” but I am realistic enough to know that ship sailed about four decades ago. Still, I think pitchers should have to get into the batter’s box at least once a game.
One of the new rules that will be instituted this season is a time clock for pitchers and hitters. When no one is on base, a pitcher must throw the ball within 15 seconds of an umpire starting the time clock. When there are base runners, a pitcher has 20 seconds to throw the ball. (Read more about the new rules at MLB.com.)
At the other end of the battery, a batter must be in the batter’s box and ready to take the pitch with at least eight seconds left on the time clock.
This rule concerns me for a variety of reasons. A batter’s concentration should be on the pitcher and the ball that is heading toward him—often at 90-plus miles an hour. A batter who is not concentrating on that, and that alone, will have an increased chance of being hit by the ball and sustaining a possibly-serious injury.
I am very interested to see how both batters and pitchers cope with the idea of the time clock, and I sincerely hope that no one is injured because the clock is now part of the game.
I will likely have more to say on other changes in the rules as the 2023 baseball season progresses. But, with that said, it’s time to “Play ball!”
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