Major League Baseball prepares for the second annual Field of Dreams game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs in Dyersville, Iowa, on Aug.10. On Friday, MLB announced new rule changes for 2023 that include a pitch clock and bigger bases. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball is adopting new pitching rules, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts, effective in 2023. The rules were adopted Friday by a vote of the Joint Competition Committee.
According to MLB.com, the new rules were adopted after recent experiments in the minor leagues. The rules are meant to improve the pace of play, action and safety in major league baseball.
The Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement that players on the Joint Competition Committee voted against the rules changes because the league allegedly refused to address player concerns about the rulems.
"Players live the game - day in and day out. On-field rules and regulations impact their preparation, performance, and ultimately, the integrity of the game itself," the player's union statement said.
"Player leaders from across the league were engaged in on-field rules negotiations through the Competition Committee, and they provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner's Office.
"Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised, and as a result, Players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against the implementation of the rules covering defensive shifts and the use of a pitch timer."
There will be a 30-second timer between batters. There will be a 15-second timer between pitches when the bases are empty and a 20-second timer when runners are on base.
In the minor leagues, the pitch timer cut the average game time by about 26 minutes, according to a post on the Major League Baseball web site.
The defensive shift limits rule will require a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base. The intent there is to increase the batting average on balls in play and to allow infielders to "better showcase their athleticism."
The other 2023 rule change in Major League Baseball will be larger bases, which traditionally are 15 square inches. The new base size will be 18 square inches. Home plate won't be changed.
The body that approved the rule changes -- the Joint Competition Committee -- consists of four active players, six members appointed by MLB and one umpire. It was created in the 2022-26 Collective Bargaining Agreement.