While Major League Baseball’s owners and players continue to bargain with one another on lots of different issues. With the season is slowly and painfully slipping away, there are some things that we can look forward to next season as Chicago White Sox fans.
There are some rule changes that would have a solid effect on the game. Despite the fact that most of the new rules have been experimented upon in the minor leagues, players know that they are coming. Any rule change would surely have an effect on how the Chicago White Sox play baseball.
One of the biggest rule changes that will affect the White Sox, as well as every other team in the league, is the installation of a pitch clock. This idea has already been making waves in the minor leagues and it appears now that it is poised to become reality in Major League Baseball.
So, what does a pitch clock do? The MLB version appears that it’s going to be two different times depending on whether or not there are runners on base.
All of these new rules are going to change the way that the Chicago White Sox plays.
When there are runners on base, the proposal is to have a pitch clock with 19 seconds on it so that pitchers can make decisions based on who is on base and where. Then they can get their pitch out to the batter. The 14-second rule would be for when the bases are empty.
Obviously, it makes sense to have more time when runners are on base but are pitchers going to have time to make accurate decisions in such a short amount of time? This is something that the pitchers of today, tenured Major League pitchers, are going to have to get used to. It’s going to be a much bigger adjustment than many people think.
The main reason that a pitch clock is being put into use is to help shorten the length of games that have grown over recent years. The “shine” of baseball can be somewhat tarnished by the amount of time that it takes to play a game so this is one way to get some time back. But will it work?
Another rule change that’s coming up is adding larger bases to the infield. Currently, the size of a Major League base is 15 inches and is around three to five inches thick. The new base size would be 18 inches which is a significant increase.
The thought behind this is that it will help increase the number of stolen bases in Major League baseball as they have fallen off a bit over the last few years.
Larger bases also decrease the distance on the base paths making it a shorter distance from one base to the other. This might help decrease the number of collisions at the bases because the runner could beat the ball to the base easier (making the game more exciting).
Finally, another rule change that the White Sox may be facing is the banning of the infield shift. At this time, infielders are able to shift themselves in the direction of where they think the ball will be hit and get into the grassy areas behind the infield. Banning the shift will take away some of the grounders over to the side of the shift that eventually gets picked up and thrown to first or second thus getting the runner out.
The premise of the shift ban is pretty easy when you think about it. There must be two players, on the infield and in the dirt, on either side of second base.
Banning the shift could increase the potential for more scoring and this would help out offenses. But it also means that defense won’t stop some of the balls from reaching the outfield. It’s a winning situation for the offense but a bit of a losing one for the defense.
Just like the NFL did years ago by creating rules to help the offense, Major League Baseball is building rules to help their team’s offenses out. Banning the shift may not result in a lot of scoring overall but it should help increase the offensive output of teams. Some fans feel that taking away the shift is a bad thing and will make the game less competitive.
The new rules will start to come into existence in either the year 2023 or 2024 depending on what happens over the course of the negotiations which are still taking place. The key now is that both sides come to an agreement and get baseball going again.
How does this all affect the White Sox? Pitchers are going to have to quicken their pace when pitching and will be forced to make quicker decisions. I can see this being a little bit of a stumbling block for any pitcher that isn’t used to it (some minor league pitchers have already had to deal with this so they should adapt). It’s going to take some getting used to.
The larger bases shouldn’t be a problem for any of the White Sox players and will only help enhance their ability to steal bases. It should make the game a lot more fun.
In looking at banning the shift, this will even the playing field and make things better for the batter should they be able to connect with the pitch. The White Sox employ a shift just like every other team in the league does right now. It will make them have to rethink things defensively but shouldn’t have a huge impact on the way that they defend batters.