Baseball fans love the new MLB rules

It’s an incredibly rare situation whenever MLB fans agree with something coming from league headquarters, it’s almost a feature of the game. And when its concerning new rules changing the way the game is played, fan support is almost unheard of.

But that’s exactly what’s happened.

MLB introduced more major rule changes this season than any other in recent history. This isn’t just changing out extra-innings are handled, or finally making the DH universal. These were changes to every pitch, every moment of the game. It’s only been a week, but they seem to be working.

The most dramatic change to the game came with the addition of a pitch clock. Gone are the days of drawn-out at bats, with both pitcher and batter taking their time to get set. What the change means for game results is yet to be determined, but there is one thing that is unquestioned – games move a lot faster. According to ESPN, game times have been just over a half hour shorter this year than last. At that pace games would finish faster than in any year in nearly 40 years.

While there have been some real forced attempts at arguing against the changes, it appears a vast majority of MLB fans like the change. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey more than three-fourths of fans said they like the pitch clock so far.

Slightly less notable from a broad look at the game, but possibly even more impactful, was the ban on defensive shifts. The new rule states that a position player may not lineup on the opposite side of second base from where they started the inning until after the pitch has been thrown. Also, infielders are forced to start each pitch on the infield dirt or closer.

In practice, the result has been more ground-ball singles, more seeing-eye base hits. No longer do hitters need to think home run or bust.

This change has proven even more popular than the pitch-clock.

The explanation behind the vast support is obvious. It has resulted in a batting average around the league 16 points higher than last year, and that’s been in the typically pitching dominant month of April.

More base hits means more base runners, which in turn means more action and excitement no matter what else is going on.

It’s impossible to predict how things will go, if the game will slow down or if fans will change their mind, but MLB couldn’t ask for a better start to the season. Of course, there is the beer sales to think about…

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