Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred has made it very clear in just a few months at his new position that he wants to improve the pace of the game in effort to grow the popularity of the sport among young viewers.
The rules that the MLB will be implemented this season include a countdown timer between innings and hitters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box at all times. MLB is enforcing the rules during Spring Training, which should give players some time to adjust.
Thus far, there’s been mixed sentiments around the league regarding the new rules. Some believe they are infringing on the way the game has been played for over 100 years. Others, including Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, believe these changes are truly integral to improving the pace of the game.
Along with Mattingly, Adrian Gonzalez is also in favor of the new rules. Aside from fully understanding the financial benefits of keeping baseball games at three hours, Gonzalez doesn’t see the new rules as infringing on the sanctity of the game, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
The one thing we don’t want is for the game to change. But keeping a foot in the box isn’t changing the game. It’s changing the way people get ready for a pitch, but it’s not changing the game.
Gonzalez also has logical reasons as to why he does not agree with the backlash from players around the league:
I think it’s funny for me to hear players complain about not liking the fact they can’t get out of the box, but every spring training, we have the players’ association come in and give us all the tools so we can be plugged in and be involved. If you don’t like something, you can voice your opinion. The fact this got through and the players’ association signed off on this means the players weren’t against it.
With Spring Training games beginning this week, players’ feedback in regards the new rules cannot quite yet be assessed. As teams approach Opening Day and players continue to adjust to the new rules, then MLB can truly begin to analyze the effectiveness of these new changes.
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