earlier this month, Major League Baseball announced Several changes in the rules to take effect with the 2023 regular season. In short, they are:
- stadium clock
- Limitations on defensive shift
- Larger bases (18″ x 18″)
There will be another potential change in future rules for MLB regular season games that will be tested at two Arizona Fall League parks, according to an MLB press release:
The Automatic Ball Challenge (“ABS”) system that began in the Florida State League in 2022 will be piloted in the Arizona Fall League for games played in Salt River Fields and Chase Field. Hitters, pitchers, and catchers will have the opportunity to challenge the referee’s ball or attack hit if they feel it is incorrect. All challenges will be evaluated by the ABS system to determine the outcome. Both teams are allowed 3 challenges and will be returned again if true.
Salt River Fields is the home stadium of one of the six AFL teams, the Salt River Rafters, and as such will host 15 games. There will be a three-header of games at Chase Field on Saturday, October 15 involving all six teams, and a similar three-header for games with the name “Location TBA” on display at AFL . table. He could also end up playing at Chase Field.
So MLB officials will have another sample of games where ball and kick calls can be challenged. In addition to the Florida State League, this system has been used in some Triple-A games, As I wrote here earlier this month.
The key to not having slow games in this system is that speculators, shooters or hunters must do it Immediately Referee Call Challenge – Don’t wait for managers or coaches to call the video room. In practice, as I wrote in that previous article, this works well and most of these challenges are completed within 30 seconds. The wrinkle I like about this is that if the challenge is correct, the team keeps it, so it could theoretically have unlimited challenges if the players challenged correctly. In practice, this is likely to correct the most egregiously bad calls – Like a couple made in the ninth inning on Sunday at Wrigley Field.
I note all of this because a change like this is not subject to the MLB Competition Committee, which had to approve the changes already announced. If MLB wanted to create a ball-and-hit challenge system, all it had to do was give 45 days’ notice to the MLB Players Association. I hope they do it for 2023; It will be a step in the right direction while we wait for them to master the auto strike zone.
If you’d like to dig deeper into what these new rules might mean in 2023 and some of the possible unintended consequences, This is what Jason Stark got from Athletic Club today (Subscription required).
One final note about this year’s NFL in regards to the Cubs:
I wrote last week That seven Cubs will go to the NFL this year, including Miguel Amaya, but he’s not on the list above, and so it looks like only six potential Cubs players will play in the NFL. This is another setback for Amaya, who has played only 63 minor league games since 2019 due to Tommy John’s surgery and now, this ankle injury. He will turn 24 in March and the Cubs will soon have to decide whether to keep him on the 40-player roster.
As usual, we are waiting for developments. Arizona Fall League kicks off two weeks later, Monday, October 3rd.