USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that MLB wants to implement three rule changes in particular: a pitch clock, banning the shift, and oversized bases.
The three rule changes that MLB wants to implement: Banning shifts, a pitch clock, and oversized bases can not begin before the 2024 season unless the union agrees. MLB wants the rules to go into effect in 2023.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 3, 2022
All of them have had defenders and detractors, like nearly all things in life.
The bigger bases, however, should be, at least at first sight, a good idea.
As always, MLB uses the minor leagues to experiment potential changes, and some leagues used bigger bases last year.
They went from 15 inches to 18 (first, second, and third base).
According to Yahoo! Sports, “MLB primarily cites a reduction in injuries and collisions for the change, the idea being more room on the bases means more room for runners to reach base without running into or onto defenders. It’s also hoped that slightly larger bases will mean slightly increased success on stolen base attempts.”
Bigger Bases Could Be Beneficial
Indeed, having a bigger base could decrease the number of leg injuries suffered by baserunners and fielders: tight plays on the bases at full speed often result in the runner stepping on the fielder’s foot, or injuring himself while trying to avoid it.
Additionally, many stolen base attempts end in an out when the runner reaches top speed and doesn’t have the balance to stop and not go through the base.
The bases used last year in the minors also had less of what’s called a ramp.
According to what Chris Marinak, Major League Baseball’s chief operations and strategy officer, told to the New York Post:
“The current base, if you don’t hit the front of it and stop, you’re going through it. And this base is a little more forgiving in the sense that, if you hit the front of it, hopefully, there’s more catch on the base. You can actually stop on the bag without popping off. Certainly, that’s one of the ideas behind it.”
So, there’s that: MLB appears to be promoting a good idea.