In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that significantly affected Major League Baseball in 2020, the 2021 season is shaping up to be a particularly interesting one. Recently, new rules were announced that will be coming to the League in 2021 and for anyone who loves the game, it’s best to get acquainted with them ahead of the season.
New rules being introduced to any game obviously change its dynamic but given the often unpredictable nature of Major League Baseball, this is even more exciting. Here are some of the new rule changes coming to the league in 2021.
1. Bigger bases:
Baseball lovers had been calling for this for years, but it has been officially announced that the bases to be used in major League Baseball will be made larger. The new base will be 18 by 18-inches which represents a larger surface area than the current base. According to recent studies by the major leagues, if only half an inch reduction in bases will see an increase in the success rate of stolen base attempts. New bases are also two and a half inches higher as opposed to the current 3 inches and many analysts suggest that this benefits the game overall.
2. Interference rule:
This is a clarification of a rule that was already in place in the major leagues. According to this new rule, if after a third strike has been dropped the umpire or batter deflects the baseball inadvertently and this leads to an impediment of the catcher, the batter in question is out and all the runners will be returned to their bases.
There had been some confusion about the application of this rule in the past, but this has now been fully clarified by the league that states that clear intent is not a consideration.
3. Ball specifications:
This will perhaps be one of the most influential new rules that have been introduced to the league. This new rule specifies that baseballs to be used must be within a narrower range in terms of size, weight, COR, and so on.
In the past, it was argued that having a wider range for baseball specifications could alter the results of games, especially if they leaned towards one specification such as being heavier or lighter. Now, there will be more uniformity in terms of the balls being used, and from opening day, this will be in play.
The league plans for umpires to begin announcing the results of replay changes with explanations via a public address system. This had previously been slowed down due to COVID-19 restrictions but this should be in full swing especially as mass vaccinations are being rolled out across the United States. For many, this will mean a more robust analysis of games as well as more engagement with the fans.
This incoming MLB season is bound to be a rather interesting one. With all the rules being applied, it is sure to be a more free and fun game for all.