And we're off! The start of the 2023 season brings with it the most changes of any season since 1969 -- when Major League Baseball split into divisions for the first time, lowered the mound and redefined the strike zone while adding four expansion teams.
The new rules promise a faster-paced game and, hopefully, a return to a style of play with more stolen bases, more base hits and more opportunities for the best fielders to demonstrate their excellence.
The pitch timer is in. (Pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with nobody on base and 20 seconds with runners on -- and the batter must be ready to hit with eight seconds on the clock.) The shift is out. (There must be two fielders on each side of second base and infielders must play on the dirt.) The bases are a little bigger, and pitchers are limited to two disengagements -- pickoff throws or stepping off the rubber -- per plate appearance.
There's a chance very little might change, but let's dig into some areas of the game and consider which players and teams might be most affected by the new rules.