Hope springs eternal as today is Opening Day for baseball here in the city.
Both the Yankees and the Mets believe this may be the year they get to the World Series. However the beauty of this day is every team — even the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles — believe they have a chance as well this year.
Today begins the the biggest rule changes in pro baseball since the designated hitter came into the game.
Pitchers and hitters are on the clock during at bats. This will surely be debated from Opening Day through the season. Perhaps as early as today a team will lose a game for not being on time with the pitch — within 15 seconds with no one on and 20 seconds with runners on.
Stealing bases may become a bigger part of the game as pitches can only try a pick off twice without a penalty. Throw over a third time and not pick off the runner, then the runner gets to advance a base.
Also don’t think you are wearing magnifying glasses when watching the game. The bases are bigger this year, shaving off 4 ¹/₂ inches from the 90 feet between bases. Given the oven mitts base runners use today, the bases are probably even less than 89 feet.
One good thing MLB did was take away the dreadful shift. Teams can no longer put everyone in the infield on one side of second base making it almost impossible to get a hit.
However the powers that be in baseball have left the dreadful CoVid-19 rule in of putting a man on second to start extra innings.
All these rules are meant to speed up the game. I don’t go to a game to get out of the stadium in two hours. That’s not baseball.
Well let’s see how long it takes for MLB to backtrack on these rule changes.
For today all I can say is “Play Ball”.