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Pitch clocks and bigger bases: Major League Baseball's new season and new rules

A Baltimore Orioles pitcher, in a light gray uniform in the right of the frame, prepares to pitch from the mound to a Red Sox player, in a white and red uniform, who is ready at bat to the left of the frame.
Charles Krupa
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Logan Gillaspie, right, starts to deliver a pitch to Boston Red Sox's Connor Wong, as the pitch clock ticks to five seconds during an opening day baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. The pitch clock is one of several rules changes players—and fans—will see this season.

The days are longer, the birds are chirping, and for sports fans, that means one thing: baseball is back.

This hour, we’re talking about the 2023 Major League Baseball season, and the rule changes now in place: a pitch clock, bigger bases and a ban on infield shifts. We'll talk about teams and players to watch, and if the new rules are a home run, or have fans and players crying foul.

Our guests are:

New rules like the pitch clock are already impacting players. Last month, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers became the first player in MLB history to strike out on an automatic strike call from a pitch clock violation.

Batters have to be in the box and ready to hit with at least eight seconds remaining on the clock or get called for a strike. Pitchers must begin the motion of a pitch before the clock hits zero, or a ball will be issued on the count.

In February, a pitch clock violation ended a preseason game between the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox. It was the bottom of the 9th, full count, with bases loaded when Braves shortstop Cal Conley wasn’t in the batter box in time. The umpire called a strike and the game ended in a 6–6 tie.

Broadcast live on Thursday, April 6, 2023 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.