It's officially baseball season and with that, it used to mean you would sometimes sit at the ballpark for what seemed like forever because games could go so long. I'm sure many of you baseball fans have noticed already, but because of the new rule changes implemented this MLB season, games are finishing faster than ever.
The pitch clock is now in full force and with the new rule, pitchers have 15 seconds to throw the ball when bases are empty and then have 20 seconds to throw when there is someone on base. If the pitcher doesn't throw a pitch in that allowed time, they will be given a ball.
The pitch clock also matters for the batters. They have 8 seconds to enter the batter's box once the time begins. If they fail to do so, then they will be given a strike.
Pitchers are now allowed two 'pickoffs/disengagements' each time they make an appearance on the mound. This means they can fake a pitch, step off for any reason, throws a ball to a base or requests time. After two pickoffs, the pitchers will be charged with a balk meaning the batter advances to first base, unless an out is made from the pickoff or a runner advanced a base already.
The MLB will now use bigger bases that are now 18 inches in size. This was implemented to help reduce injury when players are sliding onto bases.
All these new rules were directly put in place to speed up the game, which is clearly working correctly. Before the rules, the average baseball game lasted 3 hours and 4 minutes. Now we are seeing that 9-inning games are typically staying under that 3-hour mark and around 2.5 hours. So, cheers to a quicker game but still enough time to enjoy a great day at the ballpark and get some sun!