Baseball is Back: Key Dates and New Rules for 2022

Bryce Harper
By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Business is about to pick up now that the Major League Baseball and the Player's Association have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Here are the key dates for this season and new rules for the years to come. 

March 10, 7:00 PM/Eastern

Free agency opens. Buckle up! 

March 13 

Players must officially report for Spring Training. Players do have the option to report as early as Friday, March 11.

March 18

Tentative date for Spring Training games to begin

April 7

Play ball! Opening Day for the 2022 season

Now, about those rules. Baseball will look slightly different on the field that it has in the past. Here are the immediate rule changes agreed to in the new CBA:

Expanded Playoffs

The league will move from a  10-team to 12-team playoff field starting this season. Each league will field six teams, three wild card teams and three division winners. The top two division winners will receive a bye while the remaining four will play a best-of-three “Wild Card” round. 

Universal Designated Hitter

Ir took 50-years but the designated hitter is finally coming to the National League.  Effective immediately, the designated hitter will be used in both leagues.

Extra Innings Revert to Old Rules 

Ghost runners are gone for good, extra innings games will be settled just like they were before the pandemic changed the rules. 

Double  Headers Return to Old Format

Babe Ruth league style double headers are now a thing of the past. MLB will return to traditional 9-inning double headers this season. 

Multiple Rule Changes Tabled Until 2023

Changes to the defensive shift, softball sized bases, pitch count changes, robo umps, and pitch clocks have all been tabled until the 2023 season at the earliest. A Joint Competition Committee made up of four active players, six team league appointed members, and one umpire will vote on any rule changes.  

(Photo: Ian D'Andrea, Wikimedia Commons)


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