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On the Ball: New MLB rules will draw in more baseball fans

For some of us, baseball is a beautiful game that’s perfection needs no altering. The crack of the bat, the pop of a catcher's mitt, the smells of freshly cut grass and hot dogs wafting through the warm summer air. It’s all a baseball purist could ever ask for. 

But for others, baseball is slow, it's boring, it’s a true commitment of time and focus deemed unwatchable, especially in the younger generations. 

For the latter, Major League Baseball has heard your gripes and has finally made strides to change a game that has been seemingly dying over the past 10 years.

Major rule changes have struck the MLB world and so far, through nearly two weeks of spring training, the reaction from crowds has been mixed. 

The primary change to the league is that now baseball games will work under a 15-second pitch clock, a change that will undoubtedly increase the pace of play for the game. 

The rule states that a pitcher and batter only have 15 seconds (20 if runners are on base) after a pitch is thrown to be ready to move on to the next pitch. This rule will limit the “dead time” in baseball where no action is happening. 

Some think that the changes have saved baseball and others think that they now are watching a completely different game than the one they have grown to love. 

For me, a self proclaimed baseball purist, I fall somewhere in the middle. 

On one hand, I am saddened by the idea that my baseball park experience will be forever shortened by about a half-hour per game. But another part of me, the part of me that is constantly listening to friends whine about how slow and boring a baseball game can be, is grateful that the MLB has taken action to try and expand their game to suit the interests of all crowds. 

No matter your opinion, the pitch clock has already been seen to affect games early on in spring training. 

A game on Feb. 25 between the Red Sox and the Braves was decided by the pitch clock. The Red Sox Batter, Cal Conley, was not ready and in the box by the end of the 12-second timer. Therefore, his at-bat, which came with bases loaded and two outs, was ended with a pitch clock violation, resulting in the batter receiving strike three and the game ended. 

This is only spring training so nothing major changed as a result, but imagine when this inevitably will happen in a regular season game or even worse, a postseason game?

A game or even a team's whole season cannot be decided by the clock. MLB umpires should have some leniency with the timer and not get too antsy to call the violation on every pitcher or batter who is not ready at the exact correct time. 

Other rule changes have come to the MLB to speed up the play of the game including a “ghost runner” that starts on second base in extra innings. 

Nobody seems to like this rule, myself included. 

A team being gifted a free runner that starts in scoring position during extra innings is completely unfair and makes no sense. If a team is smart enough, you could just bunt down the first baseline back-to-back batters and automatically have a free run that could win you the game. 

I don’t understand why we’re trying to shorten games that go into extra innings. A long, extra innings game where a home run could end the game in the most ceremonious and exciting way possible is the most fun game to watch.

Nevertheless, the game will be shorter this year, whether you like it or not. No matter what side you're on, more fans being attracted to the game of baseball is a much needed thing for the sport and will have lasting positive impacts. 

Robert Keegan III is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Robert? Tweet him @robertkeegan_

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