Jordan Hughes, Staff Writer
With the 2017 MLB season right around the corner it’s important to understand that this year is unlike any other. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over 100 years, something the MLB community was not ready for. On top of that, many trades have gone down in the off-season along with the addition of many talented rookies.
Another aspect, the league has imported new rule changes. It seems year after year, the league implements new rules, there seems to be an uproar every year about the new rules. There have only been two major rule changes for the 2017 season, intentional walk changes and the moving of the strike zone.
The first rule in terms of the intentional walk would eliminate the need of throwing four balls to walk the batter. The team or pitcher can call for the intentional walk without the need of throwing the pitches. In other words, the pitchers would throw fewer pitches. Less pitches means less throwing injuries.
“Saving each pitchers arms are a big strategy for teams”, Utica College pitcher Justin Shabman said.
Shabman himself has fallen victim to “Tommy John” surgery, more formally known as your UCL. The surgery leaves its patients unable to throw with large amounts of pain in the elbow area.
Some may argue that this rule change doesn’t do much for the pitchers. According to articles from Fox Sports, the intentional walk was only used once every three games. This means that the rule wouldn’t really change much.
The second major rule changes affect the batters and the pitchers. The rule changes the strike zone from the bottom of the kneecap to the top of the kneecap. In change this means the strike zone size will be the smallest it’s been in years. The last time the zone was changed was in the 1996 season, but with the technology the league has, the calls of balls to strikes are more accurate.
“With the movement of the strike zone, the whole zone will be moved up making higher pitches that were normally balls now strikes,” UC outfielder JT Ross says.
As a hitter in baseball, it has been proven by science many times that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports. Adjusting the zone means that batters will have less of an idea which pitches are balls and which are strikes, in turn more strikeouts.
“Adjusting the zone brings challenges to catchers on making pitches look like strikes,” UC catcher Zach Schellenger said.
Many collegiate or professional players are indecisive in how the rules will affect the games as a whole. Fortunately, many love the game as much as they do to keep playing with the changing of the rules.