MLB To Officially Adopt Pitch Clock, Defensive Shift Limits

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Major League Baseball will officially introduce some new rules for next season. These will include a pitch clock, larger bases, and a ban on defensive shifts.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan is credited with being the first person to report that the vote by an 11-member Competition Committee had been approved. The committee was comprised of six members from the commissioner’s office, four players, and one umpire.

The first of the big changes will be a pitch clock which will hopefully speed up games.

According to The Athletic, the pitch clock will be set at 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on base.

Pitchers will have to begin their motions before the clock runs out. Additionally, catchers and batters must also abide by the clock. The Catchers must be in the box with 9 seconds remaining while the batter must be ready with 8 seconds left on the clock.

Pitch clock violations will result in automatic balls or strikes depending on who is at fault.

Major League Baseball will introduce some new rules next season including some to govern the defensive shifts. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Defensive Shift Ban And Bigger Bases On The Way

There will be rules in place regulating infield shifts. The new rule will require four players within the boundaries of the infield dirt, and two of them have to be on each side of the second base.

Teams must designate which players will stay on each side of second base. They can only change in the event of a substitution.

Speaking of bases, they’re getting bigger.

Bases will go from 15×15 inches to 18×18 inches. This change serves two purposes. The first is to make stealing bases just a little bit easier, and the second is to decrease the risk of injuries.

There were only four players on the Competition Committee that voted on these rules. All of them voted unanimously against the rules concerning defensive shifts and the pitch clock.

After the vote, the Players Union released a statement.

“Players live the game — day in and day out. On-field rules and regulations impact their preparation, performance, and ultimately the integrity of the game itself,” it read.

“Players from across the league were engaged in on-field rule negations through the Competition Committee, and they provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner’s Office.”

“Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised, and as a result, Players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against the implementation of the rules covering defensive shifts and the use of a pitch timer.”

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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