So far this spring, we have seen an umpireless game being played in the ninth inning, larger bases and a game where the banned shift was circumvented. Nevertheless, it’s another day where the MLB is functioning as normal as ever before, right? Well, that is not the case if someone has been around on social media for the past week and a half.
The new rules are making for a polarizing stance among baseball fans. Some believe that it is destroying the integrity of the game as well as some of the lore and mysterious nature of baseball. Some are the casual fans who most likely will be at one to two games a season. Some are former professional players like Adrian Beltre.
There’s something to be said about the needs of sports meeting changing society, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept what is going on currently in MLB.
So let’s talk about one of the biggest issues which is potentially messing with the outcome of games. Manny Machado became the first MLB player to receive the violation more than a week ago. Next, Cal Conley of the Atlanta Braves thought he had a chance to win when he was down two strikes with bases loaded. Suddenly, the umpire called him out and the game was over.
This incident is not some once-in-a-lifetime show for the crowd. Instead, these is the new rules that MLB has implemented for the 2023 season and players and fans seem to be having a rough time adapting so far.
MLB has implemented a rule limiting the amount of times a batter can step outside the box and even delay the game by doing so. League officials are hoping that spring training can work out these issues so the regular season can come across more streamlined.
Sports often reflects the times and society that we are in. The criticism that is reflected is these rules were done to “speed up the game” is defined by the instant gratification era. It’s part of an era where an eight-part series that can be seen in one day and movies that can be seen on a streaming service the same day that the movie hits theaters. The consumer era is now based on what can be digested within their respective attention spans. Baseball, despite its rich history, is subject to change to keep these types of consumers.
Simply put, Major League Baseball is the next professional sports league in America to start making the shift towards modernization.