We may be experiencing one of the best Major League Baseball seasons of all time.
The 2023 season started with major rule changes that were bound to spark controversy across the entire fanbase of the league. The rule changes mainly aimed to increase fan engagement and put some fun back into baseball and they did just that.
The 2023 MLB season has seen a 9% uptick in attendance rates. To put this into perspective, by the midway point of the 2022 season, the MLB saw about four million fewer people in the stands than it has this year.
The primary rule change that can be cited as having the largest impact is none other than the pitch clock, which was the biggest change to the original rules. The clock was implemented to make games faster by way of limiting the amount of time that is allowed to be taken by both pitcher and batter between each pitch.
Due to the pitch clock, the average length of a game is down from three hours and six minutes to only two hours and thirty-nine minutes in 2023. Shorter games encourage fans to stay engaged throughout the lengthy 162-game season.
While attendance rates are skyrocketing and the MLB is raking in more money than it has in years, the players and teams of the league are on their way to making baseball “cool” again.
The league has finally reached a point where a generation of players that were built on old-fashioned morals such as remaining clean-cut and studious are mostly gone, and nothing could be better for the sport.
New players like Elly De La Cruz, Ronald Acuna JR., Fernando Tatis JR. and so many more play the game in a way that has not been seen league-wide in years. Not only are they at peak performance in the league, but each displays a brand that is marketable to a younger audience by playing with a swag and enthusiasm that has been lacking in baseball since its origination.
Not only has the league seen more fans than ever due to rule changes, but more and more teams around the league seem to actually be competitive compared to most years. Usually by this point in the season, over half the teams in the league have already given up on their chance to make the playoffs and turn in for next season. But this year, there are still 18 teams that are within 5 games of making the postseason.
While a greater percentage of the league remains in the hunt for the postseason, one team has stood out above all else: the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are showcasing one of the best offenses that the league has ever seen and even though the season isn’t over yet, this Braves team may go down as one of the greatest teams of all time if they can end the year with a championship.
When teams are as good as the Braves have been, anyone, even those outside of Atlanta, is willing to turn on the TV and watch a display of amazing baseball.
As the season comes to a close, the best baseball of the year is still ahead of us. Every year the MLB reaches its peak audience in October for the postseason. With attendance and viewership numbers already up, the MLB Postseason may end as the most-watched of any sport all year long. And, quite frankly, it should be.
Robert is a sophomore 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_.