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America’s pastime has gone through quite a few changes ever since its conception nearly 200 years ago. Even just this year, new rules have been implemented that have sparked a debate between baseball fanatics on whether or not the game is being negatively impacted.

In an effort to improve the pace and create more action in a sport that has declined in viewership over the years, the MLB has introduced three new rules:

1. Pitch timer: The length of games will still be determined by innings, not minutes. But to create a crisper pace, there will be a 30-second timer between batters and then a shorter time limit between pitches. Pitchers will be required to begin their motion 15 seconds after receiving the ball with the bases empty or 20 seconds after receiving the ball with runners on base. If they don’t, they will be charged with an automatic ball.

Pitchers will also be limited to two disengagements from the mound (i.e. pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance with a runner on base. The disengagements reset the clock.

Batters, meanwhile, must be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark on the clock, or else be charged with an automatic strike.

2. Shift restrictions: The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base. These restrictions are intended to increase the batting average on balls in play and allow infielders to better showcase their athleticism with great defensive plays.

3. Bigger bases: First, second and third have been expanded from 15 inches on each side to 18 inches on each side, while home plate remains unchanged. The primary reason why the bases are bigger is safety, giving fielders and runners more room to operate without colliding. But the slightly decreased distance between bases could help runners on stolen-base attempts and bang-bang plays.
WISH-TV’s Phil Sanchez stopped by the studio today to engage in a heated debate with Rob and Hammer on whether or not these new rules have improved baseball.