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With new rules in effect, what will watching baseball look like?

With the 2023 MLB season upon us, many are skeptical about what the games will look like, factoring in the new rule changes.

What are the new rules?

  • Pitch Timer
    • 15 seconds with bases empty.
    • 20 seconds with runners on base.
    • The batter gets 1 timeout per plate appearance.
    • The batter must be in the batter’s box with 8 seconds left on the pitch clock.
    • Pitcher’s limited to two disengagements (pickoff attempts or step-offs).
  • Infield Shift Restrictions
    • Two infielders must be on each side of second base.
    • All infielders must be in the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.
  • Bigger Bases
    • First/Second/Third base sizes increased
    • Base distances reduced

Will there be differences when watching baseball?

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Crew sat down to discuss what will look different for the upcoming season. The first topic of discussion for the team was the differences between the virtual scoreboard on the televised broadcasts. With the addition of the pitch timer in Major League Baseball, ESPN is adding a pitch timer to their virtual scoreboard. 

Another addition to the virtual scoreboard is displaying the outfield shift. With new league rules restricting infield shifts, teams will perform outfield shifts, to gain an advantage over hitters who have a tendency to hit the ball to a certain area. 

The Sunday Night Crew shared their opinions on what’s to come for Major League Baseball, along with what to possibly expect during their broadcasts. David Cone, a 17-year Major League pitcher, 5-time All-Star, and a 5-time World Series Champion, gave insight on why he isn’t seeing eye to eye with the new rules.

“There will be tweaks to these rules down the road,” Cone said

Cone also added how a pitch clock could interfere with pitcher performance or batter performance, and how he enjoys watching a long pitched at bat.

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

What’s Next?

Something ESPN is looking to add to improve their broadcasts is more players being mic’d up during games. Eduardo Perez, a 13-year Major Leaguer on the Sunday Night Crew, mentioned “player interviews allow media and fans to be educated.” The crew believes getting star players to be on the mic while they play can increase viewership, while also gaining more youth enjoyment. Phil Orlins, the producer of the show, provided insight on how he strives to get the best players he can to be mic’d up.

Phil tells the story, “there were guys who said no, and there were guys who said yes. Across the year, it got easier… social equity, guys see other stars doing it.”

Orlins discussed the story of Mookie Betts not being interested in being on the mic during a game in the regular season, however, once Mookie saw other guys participating, he was willing to go on the mic. This story is similar to several other players, and the hope is more players will begin opening up to speak to the broadcasting crew in-game.

It will be interesting to see how the season plays out with the new rules being added. There is a lot to come. Buckle up for a great season with ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Crew. 

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