The lengthy MLB lockout left a lot of things up in the air regarding the 2023 MLB season, but now that the MLB and the MLB Players’ Association have agreed to play ball, we can start planning for Opening Day on April 7.
The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) doesn’t only address monetary issues, it also includes some rule changes that will directly affect not only the players, but us fans as well. Some of these new policies are simply the undoing of rules that were implemented during the pandemic and mark a return to the typical league play.
Despite the delayed start, the 2022 MLB schedule will still have the typical 162 games, but the usual offseason agenda has been minimized from its typical four months into a hectic five weeks. This includes a rushed free agency schedule, which may leave some free agents still clamoring for a team when the season begins. Let’s see what else will look a little different this year.
This October will now see 12 teams reaching the playoffs, rather than 10 as we’ve seen in past years. Both the National and American League will each send six teams, which should add some additional excitement to the end of the MLB schedule to make up for its tumultuous start. In addition, the former single-elimination wild card games will instead by a best of three series.
Full Game Double Headers
As COVID-19 numbers continue to dwindle, some of the policies implemented during the pandemic will also be disappearing. The seven-inning double headers that were enacted to minimize player contact will now return to full nine-inning games instead. Who doesn’t love full-size entertainment?
National League Allows Universal Designated Hitters
Although the American League has allowed designated hitters (DH) in game plan for decades, the National League has held out, until this year (officially, the policy was introduced in 2020, but was quickly pulled back the next year). A universal DH will aid older, injured and inconsistent defensive players and will take weaker batters out of the offensive lineup. What this means for fans, is that we’re likely to see even more grand slams coming out of the NL.
Extra Innings Will Play Normally
Another 2020 rule will not carry over into the 2022 season. In the last years, the 10th inning and beyond started with a designated runner on second base. This experimental rule was not popular among fans or players and will be called out for this year.
Get Ready to Play Ball
As players hit the fields in Florida Grapefruit League and Arizona Cactus League, eager fans can start planning their own watching and cheering plans to align with the updated MLB schedules. Whether you watch sports online from your computer, phone or tablet, or you prefer to stick to live TV showings, there are many ways to keep up with your favorite team. Check back closer to Opening Day to find your MLB schedule.
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