With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, MLB officials yesterday demonstrated several of this season’s new rule changes, most notably the new bases, which are increasing in size from 15 inches square to 18 inches square (with the new version being likened by one manager to a pizza box). As you can see above, this led to an amusing photo scrum down in Arizona, where the demonstration took place.
Here are some side-by-side views (and you can see more pics here):
Kudos to this Twitter-er, who had a bit of fun with the situation:
Here is a side by side comparison of MLB’s larger bases. The left is the old base, for comparison. The larger one is on the right. pic.twitter.com/8oZKQiTCDi
— Mark Gooden (@TooGooden17) February 14, 2023
As I often say about uniforms, I feel like I’ll need to see how this looks during a game before rendering an aesthetic assessment. In general, though, I’m in favor of anything that leads to more stolen base attempts. But while it’s true that the larger bases will have the effect of shortening the basepaths, they will also shorten the distance for a pickoff throw, because the mound-facing edge of the base will now be closer to the pitcher.
Some additional notes about rule changes with aesthetic implications:
- Here’s the new pitch clock:
- Umpires will wear a new device that will vibrate when the pitch clock time expires:
- The combination of the pitch clock and a new emphasis on enforcing balk rules has reportedly led several pitchers, including Houston’s Luis Garcia, Toronto’s Kevin Gausman, Boston’s Kenley Jansen, and the White Sox’s Mike Clevinger, to change their motions.
Spring training games start next Friday, Feb. 24.
(My thanks to John Muir for pointing me to the photo shown at the top of this page.)