As the 2022 baseball season quickly approaches, players must prepare for the upcoming changes being made to minor league games.
Earlier in March, MLB announced that altercations would be made to certain games this season. The organization announced that the minor leagues will have larger second and third bases, timers for batters to hit and pitchers to throw within assigned periods of time, and second base moving slightly inward on the field.
The current size of the second and third bases is 15 inches. The bases will now be 18 inches; according to MLB, the decision to modify the size was made to help reduce player injuries and promote stealing more bases.
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, the league explained that increasing the size is an attempt at decreasing “the severity of base-related injuries” and that “the reduction in distance between bases led to a modest increase in the rate of successful stolen base attempts.”
In addition to the size increase, MLB also plans to move second base inward, making it closer to first and third base by 13.5 inches.
Major League Baseball spokesperson explains decision to change base sizes
“Repositioning second base is a subtle but impactful change designed to create more action in the game and increase opportunities for players to display their athleticism,” Morgan Sword, MLB’s Exec. VP of Baseball Operations,” offered in a statement. “Moving the bases slightly closer together creates cleaner geometry in the infield and should increase the prevalence of stolen bases and infield hits.”
Theo Epstein, a consultant to MLB, explained that these decisions came after receiving feedback from both players, staff members, and other baseball analysts. “This year’s set of experimental rules was informed — and we believe improved — by the feedback of players, staff, umpires, and fans, as well as by analysis of the impacts of last year’s tests,” he said.
He additionally added, “We are excited to roll out the improved rule experiments to a bigger population of minor league players in an effort to ensure that any potential new regulations fulfill their objectives of creating more action, athleticism, and a better style of play.”
The minor league baseball experiment is a trial run and if it proves to be helpful to the game, the majors will likely also convert their base sizes.
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