Missoula Paddleheads Adapt to New MLB Pitch and Shift Rules
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Major League Baseball has adopted several new rules to help move the game along and make it more competitive, and the Missoula Paddleheads will implement the new rules when their season begins on May 23.
KGVO News reached out to Missoula Paddleheads General Manager Matt Ellis for his reaction to the new regulations that include a pitch timer and shift restrictions for infielders.
New MLB Rules will be on the Field with the Paddleheads
“We will have pitch clocks in the Pioneer league this year,” began Ellis. “I think it's a good move for all of baseball. I actually got to experience the time clocks for the first time in person this last week. I spent the three days down in Arizona and observed some games and was able to see how it worked and it does keep it moving fast. In fact, I had spring training games which are notoriously long go only about two hours and 20 minutes.”
Shorter games are a plus for Ellis and the Paddleheads to help keep fans more engaged, especially those with young children.
The News Pitch Clock will Move the Game Along
“Number one, it's going to make the game more enjoyable to watch in terms of the fact that there's always going to be some action going on,” he said. “And number two, it's going to allow our local young families when we play seven days a week to come out on a Tuesday night and not worry about missing the end of the game because it goes until 10:30 p.m. In addition, I'm sure the neighborhood will love the fact the fireworks we shoot will be earlier after games too, because the games will be shorter. We're expecting the game times to be cut about 20 minutes. We're in the three hour to three hour and 15 minute mark now so we're hoping to be in the two hour thirty to two hour 40 mark.”
As for the shift restrictions, Ellis said the game will return to its pure form of offense and defense.
“I'm in favor of the shift ban because I think it creates more offense,” he said. “We were starting to see traditional ways of teaching baseball go by the wayside because of the shift. For example; hitting the ball up the middle. You know, you couldn't get a base hit up the middle anymore in professional baseball because of the shift. “I was at a few major league games this week, and one game in particular, I saw six ground ball base hits up the middle, which you wouldn't have seen last season.”
The Paddleheads have Already Instituted it's Tie Breaking Home Run Derby
Ellis said the Paddleheads have already made positive changes with the Home Run Derby to break open a tie game.
“We're doing things in addition to what Major League Baseball is doing to take the game even farther,” he said. “We started the Home Run Derby to break ties instead of having extra innings. And that's been our ‘knockout round’ as we call it and it has been a huge success, and the fans love it. So that's been a great addition to do our league.”
Ellis said he needs more host families to house the incoming Paddleheads players. One of the perks is season tickets, and he said once a family hosts a player, they keep up the tradition and the players become part of the family.