Major League Baseball (MLB) will be experiencing several changes this season. A variety of things will be introduced, ranging from an expanded use of instant replay to introducing metal detectors at stadiums. In the interest of player safety, they have even approved new pitcher-protecting hats.
Although player safety is usually reserved for Football conversations, the MLB has had some serious problems of their own. With the pitcher’s mound being only 60 feet and 6 inches away from home plate, balls hit back at the pitcher have proven to be extremely dangerous. Pitchers have been severely injured when balls were hit back toward their head, resulting in potentially fatal injuries. In response to this, the MLB has recently released the approval of the isoBlox protective pitcher hat, designed to protect pitchers from such dangerous occurrences. The hat is designed to cushion 90mph line drives to the front and 85mph on each of its sides. The protective cap is a little wider in size, and uses absorption technology to reduce the impact the ball has when hitting the pitcher. It is a relief among most pitchers, and the MLB organization, that they can address the pitcher safety situation without dramatically affecting the tradition associated with Baseball.
Major League Baseball will also add metal detectors in all stadiums by 2015, to go along with this season of changes. Stadiums will be required, either by hand-held devices or walk-through sensors, to check ball park patrons for weapons and other potentially dangerous objects. The MLB already has implemented in the past a bag checking program, and other danger-preventing initiatives. This is not unheard of, as most NBA stadiums already have metal detectors, however the expansion of metal detectors is largely attributed to the Boston Marathon Bombings.
The topic of expanded replay was largely stagnated due to this dilemma of keeping the integrity of tradition in Baseball. Baseball is the only major American sport that does not have a clock, nor does it have cheerleaders or coaches. The manager-run sport is often regarded as the game that contains the most sportsmanship. Players are expected to act humbly, or relatively so, in the tradition of the great players who came before them. Tradition is so important to the MLB , and the changes to instant replay had to be unanimously agreed upon before being instituted.
In the upcoming season, MLB managers will have one instant replay challenge during the first six innings, and another one in the last three if his first challenge is upheld. This allows for managers to challenge up to two calls a game, and if a manger wishes to save his first challenge, he may do so to have it in later innings. The umpires may also use the instant replay in the 7th inning or greater. This is supposed to add another strategic element to the game that limits the use of instant replay and changes to the game, but also gives the MLB umpires the ability to make correct calls.
Major League Baseball has also begun trying to branch out and expand its fan base through social media outlets, in keeping with this season of changes. Baseball is largely considered America’s past time, and this season of MLB changes is intended to make for an exciting and interesting experience for new fans as well as the old.
By Zane Foley