Nearly two weeks into Major League Baseball’s 2023 season, players and fans are getting used to the sport’s new rules and how they’re changing the game.

During the offseason, the MLB implemented a pitch clock, larger bases and restrictions on infield shifts, as the Deseret News previously reported. Game data shows that, as intended, these changes have led to shorter games with more offense, including more base steals.

“Thanks largely to the pitch timer, the average time of game is down to 2:38 per nine innings this season. It was 3:03 last season and 2:38 is the lowest since 1984 (2:35),” CBS Sports reported last week.

CBS Sports also found that players’ performance at bat has improved compared to past seasons, which likely stems in part from the new infield shifting rules. And once successful batters are on base, they’re having more luck with steal attempts.

“MLB is currently on pace for 3,107 successful stolen bases. That would be the most since 2012 (3,229) and up from 2,486 last year,” CBS Sports reported.

Related
Hate baseball? Here’s why you should give the MLB another chance this year

Of course, the rollout of the new rules hasn’t been controversy-free. Some baseball fans have expressed frustration with the penalties for pitch clock violations, especially when those penalties have appeared to swing the outcome of a game.

On opening day, “both the Pirates and Reds starters had a pitch clock violation and both of those plate appearances ended in home runs for the batter,” The Athletic reported. “During spring training, managers and players around the league expressed concern that a game might end on a pitch clock violation or amid a situation where a tight game becomes too rushed for the moment.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said league officials are willing to tweak pitch clock rules depending on what they see in the data, adding that he hopes “umpires will exercise some discretion late in games to allow for slower, tense moments.”

But even with lingering anxiety over how the new rules will affect the game’s biggest moments, most baseball insiders are big fans of the changes.

“There’s more stuff going on and less waiting around for that stuff to happen,” CBS Sports reported.