A major shift in the way Major League Baseball is played. about time too.
Aaron Judge aims for his home run record, while Shuhei Ohtani heads with every pitch and swing, Dusty Baker tries to win another home run.
All-Stars in different locations, a new scheduling concept that features each team facing all 29 opponents.
If those plot lines sound like they’re straight out of a movie — “everything everywhere at once” comes to mind — that’s right.
Opening Day is Thursday and the full slate includes games at Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. And good news for fans – there is no snow in the forecast in any of them.
time is passing
Manny Machado recorded his first field clock violation in spring training and it was annoying. A game between the Braves and the Red Sox ended in a clock call and was a fresh game.
Chances are, if Max Scherzer, Nolan Arenado, or some other powerhouse star is turned off in a prime spot, it could go nuclear.
But MLB knew it had to do something to end all the dead periods where nothing ever happened. Well, except for hitters adjusting their batting gloves or pitchers scratching the rubber. So with games routinely lasting more than three hours, the slowdown gets faster.
A sport that never had an hour before is suddenly all over the park. Gerrit Cole, Max Fried, and the rest of the pitchers get 15 seconds to throw with nobody on base, 20 seconds with runners. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Mookie Betts and the hitters should be ready.
Early returns have been good, and spring training games last less than about half an hour this year. But remember, it was in Clearwater, Tempe and Lakeland – it can be a lot different, especially early in the season, when umpires start pointing their wrists at Busch Stadium, Camden Yards and Petco Park.
Premier League champion Kyle Schwarber, 2020 World Series champion Corey Seager and a host of left-handed runners should benefit greatly from this rule change. Because from now on, these batters will not face a wall of three right-handers.
Defensive turnovers have dominated the game in recent years, which is a big reason why batting averages have fallen precipitously. Jose Ramirez, Cody Bellinger, and other lefties increasingly found themselves being pushed out of shallow-to-middle right field.
not longer. Realizing that turnovers were a winning strategy on the field but a losing proposition with the fans, MLB banned them. These days, two outs must stand on each side of second base. And don’t play on the grass to steal hits either – Dansby Soissons, Jeremy Pena and other sneaks should be on the dirt.
One potential effect: With more hackers on the ground looking for singles find how many non-swiping people and gems nearby.
SHO OR GO?
All eyes will be on Shohei Ohtani when he starts for the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Day in Oakland. Here’s what fans will really see: Where will the two-way sensation end up?
Quite possibly the most famous and talented player on the planet, Ohtani clinched the World Baseball Classic championship for Japan and claimed the MVP trophy by knocking out fellow Angels Mike Trout.
Ohtani could become a free agent after this year. He hasn’t made it to ...season since joining Halos in 2018 — Trout, a three-time MVP, hasn’t won a single playoff game, but that’s another matter.
At 28 years old, it’s hard to imagine Ohtani hanging on to Anaheim after another lost season. If they don’t start winning soon, the Angels can either trade him in with an overly ambitious team or risk letting him walk away for nothing.
He defeated two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob DeGroom in New York for a greener field in Texas. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, a powerhouse pitching model, is now on the mound for the Mets.
Trea Turner slipped in seamlessly to join boyfriend Bryce Harper on Phillies Island. Xander Bogaerts enlivened a San Diego squad that already included Crispin players Mane Machado, Juan Soto and the suspended Fernando Tatis Jr.
AL batting champion Luis Aries was traded from Minnesota to Miami and former MVP Jose Abreu signed with the World Series champion Houston Astros.
Perhaps the most interesting newcomer: Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida. He was leading Japan in the WBC and was put in the Boston cleanup even before he made his major league debut.
We get it: stolen bases are for the infected, modern metrics show they’re not worth the gamble. Miami’s John Bertie stole 41 last season and topped the majors. It was the lowest total for an MLB leader since 1963, when Maury Wills and Luis Aparicio each hit 40 home runs.
Execs hope that the larger 18-inch-square bases, out of the 15-inch squares, will help entice more speedsters to try. It reduces the distance between the bags by a few inches. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said they “looked like a pizza box”. Pitchers will also be limited in the number of blade throws they can make.
Note to MLB: If you really want to get Randy Arozarena and Bobby Witt Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. On the run see Andrés Giménez et al drop more surprises, open up hitting lanes and increase offense overall, here’s the best idea – shorten the bases to 88 feet.
The NFL upped their game by bringing back the extra point streak, making the PAT more competitive and prompting coaches to go for two. The NBA has overhauled its sporting path by adding a three-point bracket. We know baseball has its sacred distances — 90 feet and 60 feet 6 inches — but they don’t have to stay that way forever, especially with younger audiences craving more action.