Back in Swing: Changes Coming to the MLB in 2022

Photo Courtesy: NPR

Photo Courtesy: NPR

Katie Popp, Editor-In-Chief

Baseball is back! Let me repeat…baseball. Is. Back. Can you tell I’m excited? With the release of the third Talon Times issue in February, we shared a preview of the upcoming MLB season. However, at that time, the lockout was still in negotiations. With March 10 officially marking the end of the 99 day lockout, players and coaches were finally able report for Spring Training. As Opening Day approaches, (April 14) here are some of the major changes coming to the MLB this season. 

An ongoing issue the MLB has been facing for the past few seasons has been the rights of their games to streaming services. Recently, individual teams have been giving rights to services in their state, however, this is posing problems as all MLB games are not on channels for any fan to view. With the decline of cable games, the MLB “viewership is falling faster than ever before, subscribers are falling faster than ever before,” states media analyst for LightShed Partners (technological podcast) Richard Greenfield. However, CBS states that the MLB is planning on working on a streaming service this season to allow all baseball fans to watch their favorite teams. While they do have services such as MLB.tv, the plan is to make baseball accessible for all.

Similarly, CBS shares that the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays are looking for new stadiums. Considering the RingCentral Coliseum is one of the oldest stadiums in the MLB, the Athletics are due for an upgrade. Sources share that land in Las Vegas is available, which may be promising for the team. With their lease running out following the 2024 season, it will be interesting to see where the team will end up. The Rays, on the other hand, have a larger amount of time; their lease of Tropicana Field is not up until the end of the 2027 season. With being located on the outskirts of Tampa, the amount of traffic and construction is piled onto the ballpark. Interestingly, the team is lobbying for a shared stadium with the Toronto Blue Jays. While this is mainly a rumor, a two-teamed stadium would be a completely different experience.

The final major change the MLB is making this season is the baseballs themselves. Although this seems like a statement shared at the beginning of every season, this new plan may work. In the past few seasons, the MLB has used two different balls with different weights and shapes. After the controversy last season with pitchers greasing up the balls to increase speed against batters, they began looking for a viable option for 2022. This season, the teams are only using one ball, Dr. Meredith Wills, who works astrophysics for the MLB, shares as the teams are looking for more reliable production for the fairness of the game. 

With the MLB finally back in full swing, be sure to keep an eye out for these major shifts this season.