MLB Update: Heading into May

By Ben Simon, Staff Writer

As the 2023 Major League Baseball season turns a month old, it is time to look at the biggest trends that have come upon this new season. While many of them may not last, they sure are interesting. 

First, the elephant in the room must be discussed. Three new rules are making their debut this season, aimed to improve the pace of play and, therefore, the excitement of the sport: the banning of most defensive shifts, the introduction of larger bases to make stealing easier, and the introduction of a pitch clock. 

The pitch clock has faced the most criticism from baseball purists, who disagree with forcing a time limit on a game that has prided itself on existing outside of those confines, unlike other major American sports. Nevertheless, the pitch clock is working as intended, with game times noticeably down this season. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Seattle Mariners on April 27 went just over two hours, quite different from the three-plus hour games which many fans have grown accustomed to. 

Second, some of the standings at this point in the season are downright unusual. The normally rock-bottom Pittsburgh Pirates currently sit atop the NL Central, while the St. Louis Cardinals, who feature the incumbent NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt, stand as one of the worst teams by record in the entire National League. 

In the American League, the AL East is currently the most competitive division in baseball, with all five teams above .500 (the 15-11 New York Yankees are fourth in the division!) and the Tampa Bay Rays comfortably rising above their division rivals, buoyed by their historic 13-game winning streak to open the season. 

In the NL West, a new figure has emerged to challenge the decade-long supremacy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Arizona Diamondbacks currently leading the division, led by pitching wizard Zac Gallen and the efforts of players like Geraldo Perdomo and Corbin Carroll. 

Baseball is an incredibly volatile sport, with teams going on hot and cold streaks at random, so perhaps thinking of teams such as the Pirates and the Diamondbacks as playoff contenders will be considered premature by the All-Star break. Nevertheless, they are certainly proving themselves now, and fans will continue to absorb what has been an electric 2023 season.

Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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