Do you enjoy watching professional baseball on television? If you’re not a huge fan of it, there’s a change being made for the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season that may catch your interest.
Many have complained about the length of games, so the MLB imposed a new rule that allows only six mound visits per nine-inning game and one extra visit per extra inning played. A mound visit is defined as a manager or coach taking a trip to the pitcher’s mound to meet with the pitcher. They created this new rule in an effort to quicken the games in order to keep attracting fans. Although the fans may enjoy this new pace-of-play rule, the players are worried that the rule will affect their game too much.
This game change has been a big debate since last year, and was met with much hesitation from the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Players were involved in the pace-of-game discussion from Day One, and are committed to playing a crisp and exciting brand of baseball for the fans, but they remain concerned about rule changes that could alter the outcome of games and the fabric of the game itself”, says Tony Clark, Executive Director of the MLBPA .
Many of the signs that are given from the catcher, to tell the pitcher what type of pitch to throw, are being exposed with advanced technology such as videotaping. This is hard for the players to cope with. In order for them to compensate, they have to create news signs and discuss these issues with each other, but with fewer mound visits, the players are worried that they will not make enough clarification and throw the wrong pitch. “The signs are getting so much more advanced to protect against that, so that’s why you’re seeing more mound visits,” says Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Houston Astros.
Hollis Brookline High School’s own baseball pitcher, Kenny Corsetti ‘19, has a strong opinion on this rule change as he is an avid watcher himself. “I don’t like it because they’re trying to shorten the game, which is dumb. People who watch a three hour game won’t care if it’s three hours or three hours and 15 minutes. It won’t really make that much of a difference,” said Corsetti.
Making a very long, professional sports game, such as baseball, more efficient can be more appealing for the fans and will assist the MLB in getting more people coming to the fields and stadiums to watch, drawing viewers to their televisions. Coaches are concerned, however, for the safety of their players with this new change. “You call a breaking ball, you throw a fastball at 98 [mph] and the catcher is looking for a breaking ball and he gets hit. We’re talking about safety and keeping guys on the field,” says Boston Red Sox Manager, Alex Cora to ESPN.
The average games’ duration is three hours and five minutes long, and the new rule may decrease the time to two hours and fifty five minutes. Although it is an unwanted change by many players and coaches, it will stick through the 2018 season. The players will have to accommodate, and the only way to see the change is when they begin playing. Will the new rule make a difference?
Tune into Opening Day for the MLB on March 29th, 2018 at 3:00pm to see.