The biggest problems with the new collective bargaining agreement, and those that largely led to the 99-day lockout, will not be visible to fans on opening day.
While some of the on-court rule changes that have been discussed – such as the elimination of lag, larger chainstays and the implementation of a pitch clock – will have to wait until at least next year, there are will be some notable differences in Major League Baseball this season, especially in October.
Here’s a breakdown of the changes, courtesy of ABC News:
The playoff field is expanding from 10 to 12 teams, which means there will be one more wild card in each league and more one-game playoffs.
The top two teams in each league – the division winners with the best two records – will receive byes to the first round while the winner of the third division will host the third wild card and the top two wild cards will face off, each in a three-game series. .
The No. 1 seed will then play the winner of the top two wild cards and the No. 2 seed will play the winner of the third division champion and the third wild card, each in a best-of-five series, just like the round division has been in the past.
The Championship Series and World Series remain the best of the seven.
Another ramification – there will be no more chances for a Game 163. Tie-breakers will be used to determine playoff teams, if necessary, instead of an additional on-field showdown.
Pitchers hang their sticks
Aside from two-way star Shohei Ohtani, pitchers won’t be hitting anymore since the universal designated hitter has arrived. That should mean fewer automatic strikeouts, sacrificed bunt attempts, or the occasional highlight of a pitcher hitting a National League home run.
Ohtani will have his own rule, allowing him to stay in the game as a DH even after he exits as a pitcher.
- The “ghost” runner — an automatic runner starting at second base in extra innings — is back, but only for 2022.
- The doubles will return to nine-inning games each after featuring seven-inning twin bills the past two years.
- Players can now only be drafted a maximum of five times per season, which should reduce constant shuttles from MLB to Triple-A for some young players.
- Also this year, rosters will move from May 26 to May 28 to help teams make up for shortened spring training.