The Mexican Baseball League began on Thursday, April 21, in a rematch of the 2021 Serie del Rey between the reigning champion Toros de Tijuana and the Diablos Rojos del Mexico. In front of 17,986 fans at the Estadio Chevron, the Diablos defeated the Bulls by a score of 4-2 over their rivals in a nine-inning game.
The rationale behind noting that the two clubs played in a nine-inning game is significant as the Assembly of Associates of the Mexican Baseball League announced before the 2022 LMB season that Tuesday and Wednesday games will shift to a seven-inning slate starting today, Wednesday, April 27.
Although Major League Baseball season adopted seven-inning games in doubleheaders for the 2021 season in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mexican Baseball League becomes the first professional baseball league to thoroughly embrace a seven-inning game.
The pursuit behind the seven-inning slate is not just to reduce the duration of games but also to ensure highly competitive games for the players, and convey a more substantial product to fans, whether they are in attendance, watching live TV, streaming the game, or listening over the radio.
In addition to the number of innings, the LMB will also limit the number of mound visits and introduce chronometers for pitcher changes. LMB clubs will be given four mound visits for nine-inning games and three mound visits for seven-inning games. Each mound visit is capped at 30 seconds per visit, and teams are allocated two minutes for pitcher changes.
The Mexican Baseball League will gradually introduce chronometers behind the backstop of each LMB stadium beginning on Friday, May 6, and by the middle of June, each stadium will feature two timers to keep tabs on mound visits and pitcher changes.
It’s to be noted that the LMB has adopted these changes for the 2022 season after a thorough review process. As the season progresses, the league will retain vital insight into the effect of rule changes on league performance.
The Mexican Baseball League aims to broaden the league’s audience, and the Tuesday and Wednesday seven-inning games just may be what the league needs to boost engagement. As managers are forced to alter their game plans, LMB fans will be captivated from start to finish, with each run being considerably more meaningful.