“End before the kids go to bed” Major League Baseball rules change

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Major League Baseball introduced the changes that have taken place by introducing a new rule.

The Associated Press announced on the 2nd (Korean time) that the average game time per 9 innings during the first month of the major league season recorded 2 hours and 37 minutes, 28 minutes shorter than 3 hours and 5 minutes during the same period last year.

Reducing game time was one of the major league’s biggest concerns. To this end, a ‘pitch clock’ was introduced from this season. The pitcher must throw the ball within 15 seconds if there is no runner, and within 20 seconds even if there is a runner. Batters must be ready to hit unconditionally 8 seconds before the pitch clock ends.

If the pitcher violates the pitch clock, one ball is automatically awarded, and if the batter violates the pitch clock, a strike is automatically awarded. Pitch clock violations occurred 313 times in a total of 425 games last month, recording 0.74 per game.

The Associated Press reported that “as playing time is reduced, players and club staff go home while their families are awake.” Shane Bieber, the ace pitcher of the Cleveland Guardians, who won the 2020 American League Cy Young Award, was satisfied, saying, “The reduced game time has definitely made my life easier.”

Reducing game time is also important to secure ‘future baseball fans’. US CBS Broadcasting emphasized, “How many children will stay awake until late at night after a baseball game ends?”

These changes include the National Football League (NFL), 

However, some players are having trouble adjusting to the new rules. The pitcher and catcher spend less time communicating, and players who used to spend a lot of time preparing are trying to change their habits. Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs violated the pitch clock by taking off his hat to greet the crowd as the crowd gave him a standing ovation during a game against his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Explosive increase in stolen bases when base size is increased… ‘Korean stealing king’ expected too 

Major League Baseball banned shifts in which fielders skew to one side depending on the batter’s condition for aggressive baseball. Then the hitters’ batting average went up. The batting average of left-handers improved from 0.229 to 0.247 over the same period last year, and right-handers improved from 0.234 to 0.250. 

New York Yankees left-hander Anthony Rizzo welcomed the shift ban, saying, “I think I benefited from about 10 hits.”

In addition, the size of the base was increased from 15 square inches to 18 square inches to prevent injuries from collisions between fielders and runners, and the number of stolen bases increased while limiting pitchers’ checks. The stolen base per game increased from 1.0 last year to 1.4 this year, and if this level is maintained, it is expected to record the highest in 25 years since 1999.

As the number of stolen bases increases, the performance of fast-footed players is attracting attention even if they lack slugging power. Bae Ji-hwan of the Pittsburgh Pirates succeeded in stealing 11 bases this season and tied for second in this category, becoming the first Korean major leaguer to challenge for the stealing king.

As hits and stolen bases increased, the number of runs naturally increased. Game time is reduced, and anticipation in the major leagues is rising with the ‘one-two-two’ advantage of aggressive baseball. 

Theo Epstein, former general manager 메이저놀이터of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, who advised the Major League Baseball on the introduction of the new rule, said, “The data so far has shown a very promising effect (really promising).” And as the number of stolen bases changed, the game became more fun.”

MLB is not afraid of change… Continued experiments 

Major League Baseball is also preparing for another change. In order to introduce designated runners and double hook designated hitters, the independent league Atlantic League (ALPB) is testing them.

The designated substitute runner is a rule that allows each club to appoint a player who is not on the starting list as a substitute runner at any time during the game, and allows the original batter to return to the plate and defense after the substitute runner task is over. Through this, it is a strategy to show more speedy baseball while maintaining the offensive power of the other line.

In addition, the double hook designated hitter rule is being prepared to emphasize the role of the starting pitcher. The starting pitcher must complete at least 5 innings to use the designated hitter, and if not, the designated hitter cannot be used in the game.

In addition, it is possible for a pitcher to throw a check ball or come down from the pitcher’s plate to reset the pitch clock twice in the major leagues, but only once in the Atlantic League. Major League Baseball plans to introduce these rules from next season if the effect is good.

“We are grateful for the continued partnership of the Atlantic League,” MLB vice president Morgan Sword said.

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