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Student-Athletes Unhappy with New MLB rules

The game of baseball has been America’s pastime for more than a century. For years, people have been going all over the country -- or have remain glued to their TV -- to watch their favorite MLB baseball team play nine-innings of pure, untimed baseball. However, installed for the 2023 season and seasons beyond, there are new rules which include different timers and time limits. The new rules have largely been the recipient of dismay and annoyance from fans, yet there is a portion that is in support of the time regulations. A reason why the rules were instituted was to shorten the games, which some people think are too long and uneventful. Others, however, think baseball is perfect the way it is and shouldn’t have to be constrained on time regulations.


The biggest and most controversial change is the installation of the pitch clock during at-bats. Pitchers only have 15 seconds to throw the pitch when they receive the ball, and the batter must be aware and ready when the 7-second mark hits. If there is a runner on base, the timer gets increased to 20-seconds, but the 7-second minimum stays the same. If a pitcher violates the clock, an automatic balk is called, and if the batter violates the clock, an automatic strike is called. The rules are confusing, and to some, a crime against the great game of baseball. 


Some students at NHS who not only play for the school baseball team, but root for an MLB team with all their heart, have overall similar opinions on the game. Freshman Daniel Ruthman, who plays for the Nutley Raiders freshman baseball team, is also a big fan of MLB, but not a fan of the new rules. On the new regulations, Daniel bluntly said, “I don’t like it, I think it’s kind of stupid.” He continued to say that he’s played and watched baseball for almost all of his life, and he prefers the rules the old, traditional way. 


Another freshman and baseball player, CJ Giachetti, was also pretty clear with his feelings. CJ followed what Daniel said by saying, “I don’t like the pitch clock. There’s no reason to change the game.” 


For some, it can be difficult to keep track of every little niche and detail of the new rules. The previous form of baseball was played for almost two centuries, and this sudden change can be confusing for fans. Daniel said, “The rules confuse me sometimes. I don’t really fully understand them at this point.” It’s clear that the introduction of these rules has made baseball less enjoyable to watch. “It’s hard to keep track of the new rules and how it changes the game,” CJ said.


Despite the changes to professional baseball, school baseball is still played the traditional way, which does cause some problems distinguishing the two. Freshman Chris Kovacs, who plays for the JV team, said, “Because we play with the regular rules for the school team, I forget while watching the games that the rules changed.” For students who play baseball, watching it has now become more complicated and less easygoing.


Daniel reiterated Chris’ thoughts: “Playing baseball is definitely different from watching it, in terms of the rules. It takes some time to remember when I’m watching MLB games that they have those timers.” Playing and watching baseball is more different than ever, and the distinction between the two is all the more obvious.  


The new rules instituted in MLB are a new, and to some people, improved version of the game. However, it is clear that a lot of student-athletes at NHS are opposed and confused to the updated regulations. It changed a classic game that has been untimed forever. The new rules are complex and take some time to grasp. This new version of baseball also greatly differs from the common one played by students for the school. The new timers can have perks, but overwhelmingly it seems it will bring complicated challenges.