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That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

The Major League Baseball laboratories are not in Transylvania, but in Pennsylvania and other States where minor league teams are currently playing. Looks like beginning in 2023, teams no longer will be allowed the now famous shift. No longer will a team be allowed to have more than two infielders on one side of second base. All the reports from these “laboratories” where they are experimenting create the incentive of hitters to put the ball in play.

1.The Shift: Calling games live in major league baseball I have seen it with my own eyes, how many “ground balls” that used to be hits are easy outs because of the shift. If you wonder does this contributes to lower batting averages? Legendary baseball author, statistician, writer Bill James who has written more two dozen books said the shift erased 22 per cent more hits than it gave away last season (2021), According to James, the shift took away over 4,800 hits that otherwise would have gotten through the infield for at least a single. And it turned out into hit on fewer than 4,000 occasions. So far this MLB season the combined average for hitters in both leagues in around .230. When the Boston Red Sox visited Oakland a couple of weeks ago, Alex Cora’s team had an American League high .260 combined average.

2. Pitch Clock: It is also on a trial run in the minor leagues. I do not believe in clocks in baseball. One of the best things in baseball is that it is timeless, literally. We are told what time the first pitch is to take place, but I have never found one expert that can predict exactly at what time the last pitch will take place. In the minor leagues reports are showing that the average game is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Now, I love the game of baseball and have been involved in it for over 45 years, but I also like to go home, we all do, unless you like to live in the park. But, seriously, baseball should not have a clock as a governor; it is not football, basketball or soccer/fútbol. It is an idiosyncratic game where people pay to go and enjoy relax, watch, see strategy and just pass the time with friends and family. Baseball was designed for the fans. They are the ones that pay to see the games. It was not designed for the media. But, (like many things in our lives) it has to do with money=dinero. Games that are short fit perfectly in many radio and television formats. Through the years I have spoken with many radio executives and most of them complain that the games go way too long and that prevents them from selling other programs. Television, which generate the most revenues could be much different, they are not that affected. And social media is the thing today, they are always inventing something new from twitter (where everybody is an expert) to Facebook where everybody is a photographer to those who multi-task until they go to sleep at night.

3. Appealing Balls and Strikes:  According to Baseball America: During this 2022 season, during certain Low-A Southeast games, the home plate umpire will call balls and strikes, but both teams will get three chances to appeal to the automated ball-strike system if they believe the umpire missed the call. The new appeal system is the most significant of the experimental rules changes that are being adopted around the minors in 2022. Is that also coming to the major leagues?

How will baseball look 20 years from today? If you have any futuristic ideas, please let me know you could be the next Commissioner.

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