Here are the new MLB rules for the 2022 season
The franchise is no longer a matter of debate, but the rules of baseball are changing.
After a 99-day stalemate, MLB and MLBPA have reached a tentative agreement, allowing baseball to begin its 2022 season — and it will be slightly different than it was in 2021.
Each team will begin their regular 162-game road trip for the 2022 season, starting April 7.
Players will hit the field in days with spring training starting this Sunday, March 13, and free agency kicking off as soon as ratification takes place tonight.
As normality has returned to the organization and millions of aching fans have finally been assured of their baseball, this season will not be the same as the last. There are quite a few rulebook changes for the 2022 MLB season.
What new rules would be included in the collective agreement?
Discussions were mostly centered around labor and the basic economy, including player salaries. However, the deal covers all aspects of the game.
It was decided that there would be a 45-day window for MLB to implement the rule changes. According ESPN’s Jeff Passanhere are some other elements implemented within the ABC:
General game rules
- For the 2022 season: The National League will adopt the designated hitter.
- For the 2023 season: pitch clocks will be used, there will be a ban on defensive movement, an automatic ball/hit zone will exist, and there will be larger bases.
- The playoffs will expand to 12 teams.
- There will be no man on second base to start the extra innings.
- A lottery project will be implemented to discourage tanking.
- In order to prohibit the manipulation of service time, draft selections will be induced.
Other rules implemented
- For the first time, player uniforms will feature advertising, including patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.
- The number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in a season will be limited.
- The 2023 schedule will be more balanced as teams will play at least one series against each opponent in both leagues.
Why are changes being made for the 2022 MLB season and beyond?
Over the past four years, player salaries have fallen despite revenue growth. The value of the franchise has increased – nearly quadrupled – and so players have decided to speak out.
Besides the economy, other aspects of the game have come into question over the past few seasons. Shift bans were considered to keep the defense more honest. Players have used this defensive change tactic for the past five years, and many people argue that the original rules of baseball allow players to move wherever they want. Again, the offset prohibits line drives and sharp ground balls, so in order to increase balls in play, hits and baserunners, a ban on defensive offsets was proposed.
Additionally, the pitch clock was proposed to improve the pace of play. It would discourage the pitcher from getting off the rubber and shorten bats.
And finally, larger bases would make base theft easier and more common. Stealing a base has become less and less frequent due to replay rules, so increasing the size of the base would at least make the act more compelling.
Why are the rules changing in professional sports?
The primary reason for rule changes in sport is to improve the real game of sport, helping it to grow and evolve alongside society.
Rule changes can increase the appeal of the sport to fans. From a marketing perspective, rule changes can play a role in popularizing a sports brand by increasing consumer engagement. To serve viewer attraction, the rule changes aim to speed up the pace of the game so that fans pay attention and are instantly gratified. Likewise, rule changes allow for more points to be scored so fans can celebrate their teams.
Other goals of the rule changes include safety and integrity through fair play. Sports are meant to be competitive and exciting, but above all, safe and ethical.
Can we expect rule changes in the future?
Rule changes are part of the history of a sport. Sport is constantly evolving and part of this evolution is developing alongside the society in which we live. As society progressed, so did sport, whether in a technological, physiological or ethical sense.
When baseball was first played at New Jersey’s Elysian Fields in 1846, do you think the defensive changes were questioned? In fact, they might not even have happened. Designated hitters weren’t granted until the 1970s, and spitball was banned after Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman died after being hit in the head by one in 1920.
Essentially, the rules have changed and will always change because society will always evolve in one way or another. The longer sports are played, the more professionals discover aspects of the game that can be changed or improved. Since professional sport is made up of millions of different participants, including athletes, coaches, committees, organizations and franchise owners, we will never stop seeing the sport evolve. Who you can count on.