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Front Page Talking Points


Pro baseball games get quicker and livelier, thanks to changes this just-started season


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Major League Baseball (MLB) games are faster this season, which began last Thursday. Three major rules changes are aimed at shortening breaks and adding action. They affect every key part of the sport -- pitching, hitting, baserunning and fielding -- and are the biggest adjustments since designated hitters were allowed in 1973. "Our job is to entertain first," says Kansas City Royals infielder Matt Duffy. "If the product as a whole is not entertaining, people aren't going to come."

Here's what's new in an effort to eliminate long stretches of inactivity:

"Three New Rules. More Great Action," says a TV commercial promoting the new era. The changes kicked in during spring training, when stolen base attempts and success rates rose. Average game time fell to two hours and 35 minutes. Last year, in contrast, the average regular season game took three hours and six minutes.

Behind the adjustments is this reality: Ballpark attendance has fallen steadily since 2015, and the 2022 average was the lowest since 1996. The sixth game of the last World Series, between Philadelphia and Houston, attracted 12.5 million viewers -- the fewest ever for a decisive game in prime time. Now a MLB executive vice president promises "a form of the sport that no one has ever seen before."

Spring training stat: Pitch clock violations fell from an average of two per game in the first week to one per game in the final full week.

Commercial says: "This is the game we all want to see — get the ball, pitch the ball, keep the defense on their toes." – Bryan Cranston, actor, in MLB television ad

Writer says: "It will be a crisper, more engaging, more athletic, more entertaining experience." -- Anthony Castrovince, Major League Baseball staff reporter

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2023

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

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