NEW YORK — Major League Baseball will introduce some of its most radical rules yet next year, adopting a pitch clock and limiting defensive shifts after concluding modern analytics created a slower, less entertaining sport.
The decisions were made Friday by the MLB's 11-man competition committee despite the unanimous opposition of the panel's four players. Commissioner Rob Manfred pushed for the innovations, along with a management team that included former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, now an MLB consultant.
"The influx of data in our industry," Epstein said, "have not improved the game from an aesthetic standpoint or from an entertainment standpoint. So in my role now, it's my responsibility to try to look at the big picture, think about what's great for fans."
Players supported the third major initiative: larger bases that are expected to lead to fewer injuries and more stolen bases because of a decreased distance of 4 1/2 inches.