The MLB pitch clock, a ban on shifts, officially recognizes big bases

New rules that could be changed will go into effect through the 2023 regular season, MLB announced Friday, after a majority of members of the Joint Tournament Committee voted in favor of implementing a pitch clock, a ban on shifts and big bases.

Potential change is coming to the minor leagues as well. After the Major League Baseball Players Association announced it was joining the AFL-CIO on Wednesday, a week after the union indicated it would make a push to unionize the minors, commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday that MLB would voluntarily recognize a minor league players union — a surprise. Given the longstanding tension between baseball’s governing bodies.

“I believe we notified the MLBPA today that we are prepared to execute a voluntary endorsement agreement. I think they’re working on the language as we speak,” Manfred said in response to a question at the end of a news conference in which he announced the rule changes.

The union declined to comment on the process, which has moved quickly to this point but could slow as the sides work out the details of that deal. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told The Washington Post on Wednesday that he believes the union can negotiate. A collective bargaining agreement for its minor leaguers through spring training next yearThe ratification process is the first hurdle in what could be a winding road to the minor leagues’ first CBA.

The journey to implementing Friday’s rule changes — specifically banning turnovers and implementing a pitch clock — was tough. Both rules were debated for years before they were finally tested in the minor leagues and then reached the table of the joint committee, which the union agreed should include six MLB representatives, four players and an umpire.

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The MLBPA released a statement saying none of the four players on the board voted in favor of a pitch clock or shift ban, explaining that MLB officials do not consider players’ opinion when finalizing their rule proposals. But in this spring’s contentious collective bargaining process, the union agreed to a collective bargaining agreement, in which a team signed off on a draft that says MLB can make any rule changes regardless of what the players involved think.

“Player leaders across the league have been involved in field rules negotiations through the Competition Committee, and they have provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the commissioner’s office,” the union said in a statement Friday. “Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern raised by the players, and as a result, the players in the league voted unanimously against implementing rules that included defensive changes and the use of a pitch timer.”

Manfred acknowledged that the rules have not and will not be accepted by all segments of major leaguers — some of whom benefit more from shifts than others, and some who find themselves and their practices between pitches more affected by the pitch clock. than others.

“It’s hard to get a consensus within a group of players to change the game, to take a stand to change the game,” Manfred said. “Ultimately, I think what we’ve done here is give the fans the game they want to see after carefully considering all those elements.”

Seated with consultant Theo Epstein and MLB executive vice president Morgan Schwartz, Manfred made the announcement during a news conference shown on East Coast clubhouse televisions as the players began scrimmaging for Friday night’s games. This news is not surprising at all. But at least in the New York Yankees’ clubhouse, the announcement sparked discussions among executives, players and managers.

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“I’m into it. I think those are things that can have a positive impact on our game. Let’s see, okay?” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: “…Hopefully these are the little things that lead to a more entertaining and better product overall. I at least hope these things are positive.”

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler called the changes “huge” and processed them from his team’s perspective: he said NBC Sports and others A pitch clock could help the Giants’ pitching staff, which has been taught to “push the pace” and not have to adjust.

Manager of the Chicago Cubs David Ross laughed When asked about larger floors, the group’s only unanimous vote was to grow from 15 inches square to 18 inches square. Some claim to be promoting pirated sites. Others have suggested that giving fielders and runners more room to avoid collisions on the bases would be the greatest benefit to player safety.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash told MLB Network Radio If fans want the changes these rules could create, he and his players will have to ask. His organization will take the winter to figure out exactly how to operate within the new regulations, he added.

“We’ve been working hard this offseason around the best ways to communicate that to the players and implement it in spring training and see if there’s some benefit,” Cash said.

If the rules become official Friday, everyone will have plenty of time to adjust rosters, strategies and approaches to the changes, which will be implemented in spring training. Change has been constant in MLB since the pandemic began as players adjusted to health and safety protocols, a universal designated hitter, new sticky substance tests and more.

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