MLB rule changes: Royals manager excited about what’s to come

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Screenshot from MLB Twitter video

Royals fans coming to Kauffman Stadium or watching games on TV next season will notice big changes.

Major League Baseball announced Friday that all games in 2023 will have a pitch clock, larger bases and limits on defensive changes.

“Our guiding star in thinking about changes to the game has always been our fans,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told the league’s website. “’What do our fans want to see on the pitch?’ We’ve done extensive and continuous research with our fans, and some things are really clear. No. 1, fans want games with better pace. Second, fans want more action, more balls in play. And third, fans want to see more of the athleticism of our great players.

“The rule changes we are announcing today have been thoroughly tested and refined over years in the minor leagues. Each of these rules has been tested in approximately 8,000 Minor League games since last season, which equates to 3 1/2 full Major League seasons.

Here’s more on the rule changes and what Royals manager Mike Matheny had to say about them.

step clock

There will be a 15 second timer between throws with empty bases. With runners enabled, this will increase to 20 seconds. Between the batters there will be a 30 second timer.

As noted by ESPN, a pitch clock in the minor leagues yielded immediate results this year with an average playing time of 2 hours and 39 minutes in the first 132 games.

“We’re going to have to have clocks in the bullpen,” Matheny said. “It might not be the whole bullpen. But they have to get used to what that pace looks like for big league guys. The minor league guys get it. I am not against this agreement because it will help.

Defensive Changes

Here’s the breakdown of what’s changing from the MLB website.

  • All four infielders must stand in the dirt when the pitcher is on the rubber.
  • Teams are not allowed to reposition infielders based on who is at bat.
  • The sanction for a defensive team not respecting the rules: It can choose either an automatic ball or the result of the game.
  • Outfielders may be positioned in the infield or shallow outfield “in certain situations”. A team may use four outfielders at any time in a game.

“I never liked change. Never,” Matheny said. “There are left-handers in the league who have become more valuable.”

The bases

The size of the bases will increase from 15 inches square to 18 inches. However, the size of the marble will not change.

Major League Baseball believes larger bases will help keep players safe and encourage “more stolen base attempts,” as its website states.

There will be a reduction of 4 1/2 inches between first and second base and between second and third base.

“The biggest base for a fast team, especially since we’re in this park which is us, I like that,” Matheny said. “We like to steal bases and have more incentive to lay down a bunt, have more incentive to put a ball in and try to get it out. You will see the hits on the ground increase. There is also security. All of this is positive.

From World Series coverage to the World Cup, Pete has done a bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997.