Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred highlighted the positive changes brought about by the newly introduced rules for the 2023 season – no pitch clock, no shift, and increased base size.
Manfred attended a regular meeting of 메이저도메인 the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) held at a hotel in downtown Seattle, Washington on the 11th (Korean time) and revealed his position on the league’s current issues.
He commented that the rule change “brought the most important momentum” and emphasized that “everything is positive.”
To prove this, he distributed a piece of promotional material to reporters. It was an analysis of 1357 games played so far.
According to this, the average time per game in the 2023 season was 2 hours and 38 minutes, the shortest since 1984. Compared to 3 hours and 4 minutes in 2022, 32 minutes were reduced.
The number of violations per game has decreased from 0.87 at the beginning of the season to 0.23 recently. In 60% of matches, not a single offense occurred. This means that the players quickly adapted.
The average delivery time of the pitchers was also found to be 7.9 seconds before the end of the pitch clock from 6.6 seconds.
The desired effect is also appearing in the league. The number of stolen base attempts is 1.8 per game, the highest since 2012, and the 79.4% success rate is the highest in league history. The number of checks per game was reduced to 1.1.
The BABIP, which represents the hit ratio of balls hit in play, is a league average of 0.297, up from 0.290 last season. Lefty hitters benefited from the shift ban. The average BABIP of left-handed hitters was 0.297, a significant increase from 0.283 in the 2022 season.
Popularity also increased. The number of spectators increased by 8.1% compared to last season, and in June, the weekend attendance exceeded 1.5 million for 4 consecutive weeks. This is the first time since 2017. Twenty-three of the 30 teams saw an increase in crowds compared to the previous year, and 12 teams saw an increase of more than 10%.
Manfred emphasized that young fans are starting to visit the stadium, saying, “The average age of ticket buyers has decreased by nearly three years.”
He also revealed his position on other issues. The main contents are as follows.
▲ Robot referees currently being tested in the minor leagues will not be introduced to the big leagues in 2024. “It doesn’t have to be that way, but if we had to make a decision today, it would be more supportive to start with a challenge system,” he said.
▲ In the case of the Athletics, which is preparing to transfer the ointment to Las Vegas, the process of submitting information related to the ointment transfer has begun. It is said that it has not yet submitted a plan for which place to use as a temporary stadium between 2025 and 2027, when the new stadium is built.
▲ Regarding the issue of expanding the league to 32 teams, the precondition was that the situation at the stadiums in Oakland and Tampa Bay should be resolved, but if this issue is resolved, “we will immediately open an expansion committee and start internal discussions.” showed a willingness to expand.
▲ Manfred drew the line that Major League Baseball’s opening to sports betting had nothing to do with keeping Pete Rose in disciplinary action. “Pete Rose broke rule number one in baseball. We will continue to abide by our rules.”
▲ Regarding the 2025 All-Star Game, which has not yet been announced, Manfred acknowledged that Atlanta and Chicago are among the candidates.