Red Sox Fans

Big changes for MLB; for Red Sox, not so much

Historically, real change in Major League Baseball’s methods of operation is anchored by tradition. That’s why 2023 will be truly revolutionary.

Pitchers will have to obey a ticking clock. Batters won’t be allowed to leave the box indefinitely, fiddling with whatever they choose to fiddle with. Bases will be larger. Fielders will not be allowed to congregate, en masse, on one side of second base, guided by statistical analysis. Pitchers and catchers will communicate electronically.

And to think that the American League’s creation of the  designated hitter rule 50 years ago was considered a death knell.

MLB’s hope is that the changes will make the game faster and more entertaining, believing (rightfully) that more scoring will drown fans’ inclination to squirm in their seats and keep their remote controls poised for action.

The last place in America that should be used to measure the success or failure of the new rules is New England.

Enthusiasm for baseball here is hard-wired to the Red Sox. If the Red Sox are contending, the enthusiasm comes in waves. If they are foundering, the ripples are barely discernible.

As Opening Day beckons (and won’t Fenway be nice and toasty warm Thursday afternoon), expectations are muted. It’s tough to look at their roster, note who is no longer listed, ponder who they have brought in, and believe that the 2023 Red Sox will amount to much.

The players they have lured to the lyric little bandbox range from the nondescript to the pretty good. In another season, in another division, it might be enough to climb multiple places out of the basement.

But Rafael Devers and Justin Turner can’t carry the lineup. Cory Kluber is their Opening Day starting pitcher. No one knows if Chris Sale can regain his health, let alone his superior standing.

In 2023, the American League East will be the best division in baseball. The Yankees, the Blue Jays and the Rays are the cream of the division, arguably of the entire league. The Orioles might fade.

So that leaves the Red Sox and Orioles to battle it out for fourth place, starting with their opener at Fenway.

Give the Red Sox an edge, with 80 wins and 82 losses.

One more win and they can achieve perfect mediocrity.

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