Let there be light. And hopefully Clayton Kershaw.
One hundred sixty-two glorious games of baseball will happen this year.
The Squabbles are over. Spring training starts Sunday. Exhibition games start March 17 or 18. The season starts April 7.
To make up for game postponed, they will tack on the first three-game series that was supposed to be played March 31 onto the end of the season. The other series will be shoehorned into the season either as doubleheaders or during off days.
Doubleheaders will go back to their pre-pandemic rules. Nine innings. Unless they go longer. And with they do, without the runner starting at second.
But the best news of all is, starting next season, there will be a pitch clock. Pitchers must deliver a pitch within 14 seconds if bases are empty. If there is a runner on base, within 19 second.
If you go back and listen to games played during the 2021 playoffs, which were run non-stop on MLB Network Radio because they had nothing else to run, you realize just how badly needed this pitch clock was. It took pitchers thirty to forty-five seconds to release a pitch. And the game just sat there. With nothing happening. At all. Thank goodness that will change.
As will the shift. That will be banned starting 2023. Two infielders must be on the dirt on the left-side of second base, and two infielders must be on the dirt on the right side.
Also in 2023, bases will go from fifteen inches wide to eighteen. Meaning, the distance from home to first will be three inches shorter. From first to second and second to third will be six inches shorter. And from third to home, three inches.
More steals. More attempted steals. More action. More hits on close plays to first.
And, starting this season, there will be a Designated Hitter in both leagues. Gone are the days of enjoying an inept .122 hitter attempt to bunt. Speaking of which, Rougned Odor is an Oriole.
The other changes brought by the agreement aren’t for fans. The main ones are: Players minimum salary will increase. The luxury tax threshold, a penalty for teams spending too much on payroll, will increase, which will theoretically get teams to add that one or two more free agent without fear of having to pay a huge tax on that salary. And there will be a draft lottery among the worst six teams. So, no longer can the Rangers continue to purposely tank and be guaranteed the best draft picks. And, if they are the bottom six for three years in a row, that third year they are not eligible to pick until as low as tenth. The players really wanted measures to stop tanking, since owners apparently didn’t have the desire to put out a winning team.
Oh, and there will be twelve teams making the playoffs from now on instead of ten.
Most of this was arguing over money. Which is never pretty.
The good news is, baseball is back. The Rangers are now free to try to rebuild from the wreckage that has been the past five seasons. It’s started already, with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Oh, and Kole Calhoun and Jon Gray. But this team still needs to replace every other position player if it has any designs to be good.
Oh, and they have no rotation to speak of. Clayton Kershaw would be a huge start.
Let the dreaming begin.