Shorter games. More action in the batter's box and on the bases. Outs becoming hits again. Major League Baseball's new rules seem to have near universal appeal among fans. But what do the players think?
We asked ESPN MLB reporters Alden Gonzalez, Joon Lee and Jesse Rogers to sit down with a handful of players and managers to find out how the new rules are affecting them. This isn't a scientific survey — just a chance for a few thoughtful big leaguers to speak in depth about how they feel about the radical changes to their sport.
What's your favorite thing about the new rules so far?
Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs outfielder: Not having the shift. Being able to have some of those ground balls be hits is huge, rewarding guys for hard-hit balls. And the line drive being back in play. I think I've had two hits so far that would have been outs.
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres starting pitcher: None that I can think of.
Mark Canha, New York Mets outfielder: Favorite thing — the games being over in 2½ hours more often than 3½ hours. I do remember last year my garage near my apartment where I was parking my car closed at 12. So it'd be like [with] my wife and my kids, it was a rush to get home just to make it to the garage sometimes.
Matt Moore, Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher: I don't know that I have a favorite thing, but it is nice feeling like the game has been condensed down to more of a reasonable time frame. As a reliever now I'm heading out [to the bullpen] in the third inning, and you no longer have an hour 'til the end of the third inning. It's like, 'Hey, I might have a half hour.' The pace of the game, and depending on which matchup it is — the other day it was [Tyler Anderson] and [Zack] Greinke, and we were in the fourth inning after like 30 minutes. It was very quick. So that's one thing that I do like.
Tony Kemp, Oakland Athletics outfielder/infielder: Probably my favorite rule has been the disengagement limits, because I think sometimes it [used to] get to be too much. It can get repetitive, and pitchers fall into a rhythm of like three or four times throwing over, and it prolongs the game.
Elvis Andrus, Chicago White Sox shortstop: The bigger bases. It's a lot easier for everything: stealing, making double plays. It's helped the game a lot. I think that's the only one I like.
Kyle Higashioka, New York Yankees catcher: I like the runner on second [base] in extra [innings] because I don't want to play 18 innings, and sometimes those games when it's 0-0 or 1-1, it's destined to go six more innings. You're just dreading it. So now at least the thing is both teams get their chance no matter what. I think it just ends the game quicker and it's actually pretty exciting because it's high stakes immediately.
Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays manager: Pitch clock. The pace of game. It's helped baseball. I've enjoyed it. I hope the fans have enjoyed it. It's obviously a faster pace and seemed to have created a little bit more action in the game, which is a good thing.