Interview: Former Red Sox Champion Kevin Millar Talks New MLB Rules With OutKick

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OutKick’s Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman spoke with former Boston Red Sox World Series Champion Kevin Millar about the new Major League Baseball rules.

Major League Baseball’s spring training kicked off last weekend and the biggest story everyone is talking about are the new rules that will be implemented for this coming season.

MLB announced a variety of changes this year – some significant, some that the average fan may not even notice.

OutKick’s Mike Gunz spoke with Kevin Millar, former Boston Red Sox World Series Champion (part of that historic ’04 comeback team against the Yankees that broke “The Curse of the Bambino”) to get his take on the new rule changes.

“It’s different and when we have change, nobody knows how to react. I think everyone needs to sit back and take a deep breath,” Millar said regarding the new changes that range in everything from larger bases, infield switch rules, extra-inning automatic base runners, and a new pitch timer.

“I’ve played for the Red Sox and was part of the Sox-Yankees rivalry. Those games we walked off 4 hours, 30 minutes and you don’t even know [the game was that long] as a player. But then I’ve announced a few games since for the Red Sox and a game that’s over 3 hours… it’s almost like it’s boring,” Millar continued.

“You’re trying to make [the game] better. You’re trying to make it better for the times. Styles, colors of houses [they all change]. It’s what we do as society, you just need to be ready.”


One of the biggest debates has been over the introduction of a pitch timer. Essentially, it’s like an NBA shot clock, but for pitchers and hitters.

The new MLB rule states that when a pitcher receives the ball from an umpire or catcher, they have 20 seconds to pitch it. Consequently, the batter must be in the batter’s box with at least 8 seconds remaining on the same clock. (When runners are on base the clock only has 15 seconds between pitches, while the batter still has to be ready with 8 seconds left).

We’ve already seen instances in spring training games where umpires have called automatic strikes – in one case, to end a game, because the hitter wasn’t ready. Pitchers have also been appointed a ball for not delivering the pitch in time.

I asked Kevin about what the new clock means from a mental standpoint, especially for big games. How will players deal with trying to get into a groove and rhythm, when fans are cheering loudly and it creates a high-stressed environment.

“Being ready as a player, it’s part of what we do,” Millar began. “You have all this documentation. Just like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning… they have watched 8 hours of film, they know the defense before it’s even breaking [towards them in a game].”

“It’s just the preparation [aspect of it] and that’s what players have to do now. They have to prepare. If you’re a slow tempo, methodical pitcher on the mound…Well, pick it up bro!”


Regarding the new rules about the infield where two players have to be on each side of the second base bag, and no outfielder can step off the grass, Millar said that it’s also good for the game.

When I brought up that the shift has been happening for years and fans have screamed and yelled for the batters to just “hit it the opposite direction!” to no avail, Millar agreed that it won’t change the game too much.

He essentially believes that players aren’t going to suddenly change their game play over the shift if they haven’t done so already.

“If Aaron Judge bunted 3 times at a Yankees game, people would walk out and demand their money back. Nobody wants to see that,” he said on why things won’t significantly change there.

The new MLB rules also affect extra innings play. If a game now extends past the first 9 innings, there will be an automatic runner placed on 2nd base beginning in the 10th inning. I personally have argued that they should have started it maybe in the 11th or 12th inning, to at least keep the game going for a bit. Millar however disagreed.

“The guy at 2nd base [runner] it makes it more exciting. How are you going to play it out? Are you getting him over, are you striking out, are you homering, or are you hitting it into the gap? It brings a little bit more excitement.”

MLB umpires will have their work cut out with them with the new league rules. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


All in all, the excitement is what Major League Baseball executives and the focus groups and studies they have done are all trying to bring back to the game.

It’s no secret that younger generations have tuned out of sports, and especially baseball in general.

“If you’re not a baseball fan, 3 hours and 37 minutes to watch a Royals and Pirates game, that’s a long time.”

We’ll see if the new rules work.


Kevin Millar will be part of the upcoming 2023 Celebrity Classic Golf Classic that will feature over 70 PGA Tour Champions and a slew of athletes – ranging from Greg Maddux to Emmitt Smith and more. It airs on the Golf Channel beginning April 21st.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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