Dick Monfort is on the committee bringing new massive changes to MLB
Major League Baseball will look a lot different in 2023, as the sport approved significant rule changes on Friday.
The sweeping set of changes has been approved in hopes of overhauling the game for a modern audience. MLB’s competition committee voted for a pitch clock and a ban on defensive shifts in 2023 to hasten the game’s pace and increase balls in play. The committee, made up of six ownership representatives, four players, and one umpire, approved rules limiting pickoff moves and expanding the size of bases as well. That group includes Colorado’s Dick Monfort.
The significant changes will include a pitch clock of 15 seconds with empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on, a defensive alignment that must include two fielders on each side of the second-base bag with both feet on the dirt.
The vote was not unanimous, with players voting no on both the pitch clock and shift ban. These rules have been tested in the minor leagues for years, with the pitch clock speeding up the game when strictly enforced.
According to ESPN here is the new rule:
The rule is strict: The catcher must be in position when the timer hits 10 seconds, the hitter must be have both feet in the batter’s box and be “alert” at the 8-second mark and the pitcher must start his “motion to pitch” by the expiration of the clock. A violation by the pitcher is an automatic ball. One by the hitter constitutes an automatic strike.
The other rule changes bans second basemen in short right field, which has been done for about as long as baseball has been played. But it has gone from a rare strategy to a one as common as normal alignment.
Perhaps most draconian of the new rules are pertaining to pickoffs. Pitchers are limited to two for each plate appearance but the number will rest if a runner advances. A pitcher can make a third pickoff attempt, but if it is unsuccessful the move will be deemed a balk, allowing the runners to move up a base. This will bring back the steal in force.
“Player leaders from across the league were engaged in on-field rules negotiations through the Competition Committee, and they provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner’s Office,” a statement from Major League Baseball Players Association read. “Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised, and, as a result, Players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against the implementation of the rules covering defensive shifts and use of pitch timer.”
It’s interesting to see Monfort so involved, also changing the size of the bases to be biggest and adjusting the mound visit rule.
In the latest collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, the rule change process was altered, which may have helped bring some of the most notable rule adjustments in years.
Monfort was reportedly the lone owner against playing the 2020 COVID-shortened season. His voice is resonating in the ownership room, as one of the now more veteran members. It’s unknown how he voted on all these rules, but they are particularly interesting to think about given how much Monfort fancies himself as a baseball lover, his home park’s quirks and the clearly entertainment-driven nature in which the Rockies are run.