Over the weekend, Major League Baseball entered a new era. The first games – albeit spring training games – were played under the new rules implemented this season that include the banning of the shift, bigger bases, and most notably the pitch clock.
The pitch clock is the rule that has gotten the most attention. In an effort to shorten games, players are now clocked in between pitches. From the time they get the ball back from the catcher, pitchers have 15 seconds with the bases empty or 20 seconds with runners on base to begin their pitching motion (30 seconds prior to the first pitch of an at-bat). If they don’t a ball is added to the count.
Under the new rule, batters are timed as well. They’ll receive an automatic strike if not in the box by the eight second mark. Pitchers are also limited two step-offs or pickoff moves per at-bat – a third would result in a balk.