Day 99 Agreement Reached, Let the Free Agent Frenzy Begin!
Opening Day is April 7.
Here’s a quick summary of changes for this season from mlb.com. Also, a video summary from CBS Sports.
They will play a full 162 game schedule and missed games (originally scheduled March 31 - April 6) will be made up in a 3 game series at the end of the year plus doubleheaders during the season.
Spring training starts today, First games tentatively March 18 (next Friday).
Summarizing that mlb.com summary plus my thoughts:
- Postseason goes from 10 teams to 12 and the top two seeds get byes in the first round (“Wild Card round”) and the other four play a best-of-three to move to the Division Series round, with no re-seeding — probably makes more sense this way than the stupid game 163 play-in game, but get ready for a lot of late October and early November baseball even in cold climates
- NL adopts DH — After almost 50 years of AL-only DH, the NL succumbs to the pressure and I’m ambivalent about this, because although it is nice to not be forced to watch (most) pitchers hit, the rule has a big “unintended consequences” effect on other parts of the game — especially late in games — that make it a little too offensively-oriented for my taste, plus creating roster spots for “all hit no field” players who look like they should be playing beer-league softball
- Extra innings return to old rules with no man on 2nd to start the 10th and each inning after — I liked the man on 2nd rule and thought it improved the game, because who needs 14 inning games in May and June? The season is long enough already, and more injuries especially in the bullpen is nobody’s first choice.
- For 2023, they will create a new committee to decide on potential rule changes such as "a pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts, larger bases and the automatic ball/strike system". This Joint Competition Committee will be 4 players, 6 MLB reps, and one umpire, and decisions it renders can be implemented with 45 days notice to players..
There are new minimum salaries and a bunch of boring Rule 5, arbitration and service time changes listed there too. They have tabled the International Draft talks for now. Details like this are not sports, they are labor negotiation, and why any sports fan cares about that I’ll never understand. We’ve been slowly conditioned to accept lawyers representing rich people arguing with each other as “sports”.
Final comment: I’ve weathered many of these strikes and lockouts before, but for some reason this year I am disgusted with both sides. I’ve just had enough of the whining by the players about “manipulating service time” even though the ballclubs have followed the rule as written and agreed to by the MLBPA, and about paying the young players more when the star players expect long-term deals at $50M per year, and the owners raising ticket prices to stratospheric levels and moving to subscription-only TV, and the obsession with stats and the way it has changed the game for the worse, and Astros cheating without paying much of a price, and all manner of other things. This sport is still great when they don’t screw it up but they’re screwing it up before our eyes, and the demographic trends for their fan base are not good. When you’re heading for a cliff, the first thing to do is take your foot off the gas.