Sources tell The Athletic that in the second half of this season, second base on many Minor League Baseball diamonds will be moved inward — so it will be closer to first base and third base, by about 13.5 inches.
While Major League Baseball's field dimensions will remain unaltered, for now, this change will happen in most ballparks at every level of the minor leagues, as part of sweeping minor-league rule-change experiments that will include pitch clocks, shift limits and robot umps — all of which could be coming to MLB parks in coming years.
According to CBS Sports, the interesting thing about the move of the base is it draws attention to the fact that the bases aren't actually, exactly 90 feet apart. Second base is a bit off and has been for well over a century.
The current MLB rule book shows lines representing the base paths making their right turns on the diamond on the outer edges of first base and third base, but exactly in the middle of second base. Each 90-degree angle is 90 feet apart, which means the edges of the bases are all closer than 90 feet to the other.
The move of the base in the second half of the MiLB season — again, on an experimental level — would be to line second base up inside the 90-degree turn like the other bases.
The end result of the move, per The Athletic, is to put exactly 87 feet between first and second base, when it used to be 88 feet, 1.5 inches from base to base. It'll be closer to third, too, obviously, by virtue of moving more toward the middle of the diamond, CBS Sports reported.
Major League Baseball already wants to employ larger bases, but now moving second base slightly inward toward home plate in order to make the bases more uniform is also on the table.
According to CBS Sports, the bigger bases have an element of player safety attached to them, but moving second base really only has the benefit of likely creating more action on the bases in the form of more stolen bases, more attempts to stretch singles into doubles, closer plays at second on force-outs, etc.