Major League Baseball’s competition committee approved a slate of rule changes that will go into effect for the 2023 season. The changes include the implementation of a pitch clock, restrictions on defensive shifts and larger bases.
The new rules sparked varied reactions from around the league. The Players Association had four seats on the 11-person committee, and all four voted against two of the three measures — the ban on the shift and the pitch timer. The larger bases were approved unanimously.
Giants owner Greg Johnson, who was on the competition committee, said he was surprised by the results of the vote.
“Despite the vote, I would say the dialogue was very collaborative, very positive, very respectful,” Johnson told The Athletic. “It wasn’t like you were in a battle going back and forth. People tried to be very thoughtful in this process.
“I think everybody on the committee agreed with the spirit of these rules. It just seemed like we got bogged down on a couple of nuances or subtleties. If the players brought up six items, we probably compromised on five of them, and didn’t on the sixth, and that resulted in the vote going the other way.”
Here is a sampling of opinions from players and managers around baseball:
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies outfielder/DH: “I’m actually very against how it’s happening. It helps left-handed hitters like me. But anytime you have the boss implement something against the will of the players, that’s not good for the game of baseball. … It would be really great if we could have arrived at a conclusion together, with compromise. That would have been nice. It sounds like something we should have addressed in the (collective bargaining agreement), which, I guess is our fault as players. But it seems contrary to the whole spring training goodwill tour our guy took.
“I’ll tell you what, if we’re trying to bring more new fans to the game, adding a whole bunch of shot clocks and special rules like that is probably not really conducive to learning about the game.”