MLB commissioner says fans were catalyst to add pitch clock, other new rules

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(NEW YORK) -- America's pastime will look slightly different this season with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred saying fans are the reason the sport is working to evolve the action of the game.

"What underlies the rule changes is you want a game that moves along, has a lot of action and is entertaining for people," Manfred told ABC News' Good Morning America Tuesday about the changes to the sport. "Our research showed that the game had evolved and changed in a way that fans didn't like and we decided it was time to intervene to make sure we put the best form of baseball on the field."

In an effort to make baseball games more fast-paced, one of the new rules by MLB for the 2023 season is putting pitchers on the clock. When the bases are empty, a pitcher will have 15 seconds to start their throwing motion and 20 seconds if there are runners on base. Previously, they could take their time on the mound with no pressure to throw the pitch by a certain time.

Manfred explained that despite the addition of a pitch timer, baseball is "still a game with no clock in the sense that the end of the game isn't determined by any timing. The game ends naturally just like it always has and I see the pitch timer as a small change to move things along."

"I think fans will notice that the game has a brisk pace to it and the games will be shorter," he said.

Shaving off those seconds has already resulted in quicker games -- on average, spring training games were played 25 minutes faster in 2023.

The league is also outlawing defensive shifts -- a trend that has increased dramatically in recent years -- to yield more offense. Two infielders must stay on either side of second base and all four need to have both feet in the dirt before the pitch.

According to MLB, "shift restrictions increased batting average and decreased strikeouts in Minors while giving players more opportunity to show off their athleticism."

"The attention span of fans we know is limited," Manfred explained. "The game historically was played in a window -- 2 1/2 [hours] to 2:45 -- and in a lot of ways we're restoring baseball to when it was the most popular."

A third major rule change sees the size of the bases getting bigger, from 15 square inches to 18. The larger bags at first, second and third base are expected to have a positive impact on player safety as well as reduce the distance of the base path. It will be 3 inches shorter from home base to first and third to home, while the path from first to second and second to third was reduced by 4.5 inches.

This slightly shorter base paths could also lead to more stolen bases.

"Nothing stays in exactly the same form," Manfred told critics of the changes. "And the fact of the matter is the game had evolved naturally and has changed dramatically and it got to the point where it was important to intervene and make sure that we were putting the best product on the field."

Overall, he said MLB wants to maintain "the atmosphere in our ballparks" and said that their "live product is a family-friendly product ... our clubs price in a way that encourages families to come to the ballpark."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/27/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:


Chi White Sox 6,  Chi Cubs 6
LA Angels 5, LA Dodgers 4
Arizona 7, Cleveland 6
Oakland 12, San Francisco 6
Atlanta 6, Boston 1
St. Louis 8, Baltimore 2
Philadelphia 5, Toronto 2
San Diego 4, Seattle 2
Minnesota 8, Pittsburgh 4

Kansas City 4, Texas 4
Houston 3, Sugar Land 1
NY Yankees 8, Tampa Bay 4

Colorado 12, Milwaukee 8

Dallas 127, Indiana 104
Milwaukee 126, Detroit 117
New York 137, Houston 115
Phoenix 117, Utah 103
Denver 116, Philadelphia 111
Minnesota 119, Sacramento 115
New Orleans 124, Portland 90
LA Clippers 124, Chicago 112

Ottawa 5, Florida 2
Montreal 4, Buffalo 3
NY Islanders 5, New Jersey 1
Minnesota 5, Seattle 1
Colorado 5, Anaheim 1
Edmonton 5, Arizona 4

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

March Madness Men’s Final Four is set

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(NEW YORK) -- And then there were four.

After this past weekend’s match-ups, we now know which teams make up the Final Four in this year’s NCAA men's basketball tournament: San Diego State, University of Connecticut, Florida Atlantic University and University of Miami.

The semifinals in the competition will tip off on Saturday, April 1, with the Florida Atlantic Owls facing off against the San Diego State Aztecs, and the Miami Hurricanes duking it out with the Connecticut Huskies for a spot in the final.

The final game in the tournament will then be held on Monday, April 3, when a new champion will be crowned. The No. 1 seed defending champion Kansas Jayhawks were eliminated earlier in the competition.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/26/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:


Houston 24, St. Louis 1
Baltimore 4, Philadelphia 2
Chi Cubs 5, Kansas City 0
Colorado 4, Chi White Sox 2
Cleveland 3, Cincinnati 2
Final San Francisco 9, Oakland 5
LA Dodgers 3, LA Angels 0
Seattle 5, San Diego 5 (Tie)

NY Yankees 6, Toronto 2
Minnesota 7, Boston 2
Detroit 11, Tampa Bay 10

Atlanta 8, Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 7, Colorado 5
Washington 2, Miami 2 (Tie)
Arizona 4, Milwaukee 4
Miami 3, N.Y. Mets 3 (Tie)

Charlotte 110, Dallas 104
Chicago 118, LA Lakers 108
Boston 137, San Antonio 93
Toronto 114, Washington 104
Cleveland 108, Houston 91
Orlando 119, Brooklyn 106
Memphis 123, Atlanta 119
Oklahoma City 118, Portland 112
Minnesota 99, Golden State 96

Los Angeles 7, St. Louis 6
Colorado 4, Arizona 3 (SO)
Boston 4 Carolina 3 (SO)
Toronto 3, Nashville 2
Vancouver 4, Chicago 2

Miami 88, Texas 81
San Diego St. 57, Creighton 56

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

First female player on an Atlantic League baseball team shares her grand-slam mindset

Courtesy of Kelsie Whitmore

(NEW YORK) -- Kelsie Whitmore, 24, considers herself a proud daughter, sister, competitor, athlete and friend. If that wasn't enough, she just so happens to be the first woman to ever start and pitch for an Atlantic League baseball team, taking the pitcher's mound for the Staten Island FerryHawks' 2022 season.

"You know those things in life that you can't explain and you just know it's your truth? That's how playing baseball has always been to me," Whitmore told ABC News' Good Morning America.

"I grew up playing all sports, not only baseball. I remember playing catch in the front yard with my younger brother and dad. I played flag football, you name it -- I played it," she continued. "My parents really always encouraged us to be outside and to stay active."

Whitmore said that growing up, she saw no boundaries between herself and other teammates.

"I just saw whoever was in front of me as a competitor," she said. "Male or female, ethnicity, color -- that didn't matter."

"My dad instilled in me the mentality to just suck it up and keep going," she added. "So that's exactly what I did."

Whitmore has been knocking down doors in the male-dominated baseball world since her teenage years: She was the only female player to start for her varsity baseball team at Temecula Valley High School in Southern California.

"You must have short-term goals to be able to reach long-term goals. Many people are so focused on the outcome over the process. I choose the process over the outcome," she said. "The process is what builds you."

Though other women have coached and made history in baseball, Whitmore said that much of her journey has left her craving the non-existent camaraderie between her and other female players her age.

"It can be overwhelming at times -- so that's when I stick to the people that know who I really am and want the best for me," she said.

"No matter how long I have been playing this game, when I step out on that field as the only female, there are always be little nerves -- you know all eyes are on you," Whitmore said. "That's when I focus on breathing."

"I can't control what someone is going to think of me," she added, "but I can control my heartbeat, how hard I am going to work, how I treat others and the positive self-talk that I feed myself."

Whitmore urged other women that may have similar dreams as hers to put one foot in front of the other and run with them.

"Big dreams require big sacrifices," she said.

When asked about what advice she would share with young athletes -- or anyone -- with big goals, Whitmore shared a glimpse into her winning mentality.

"Before anything that you are going to do in life, learn to find yourself. Look in the mirror and continue to ask yourself difficult questions. Once you have that, you can fearlessly go for anything you want in life, and for me ... that's baseball," she said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/23/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:


Boston 7, Pittsburgh 4
Philadelphia 4, Detroit 1
San Francisco 6, Chi White Sox 3
San Diego 6, Kansas City 3
Houston 5, Washington 4
Cleveland 10, San Francisco 0
Seattle 17, Cincinnati 6
NY Yankees 1, St. Louis 1 (Tie)

Toronto 3, Minnesota 0
Detroit 8, Baltimore 8
Oakland 7, Texas 7 (Tie)

Chi Cubs 11, Arizona 1
Milwaukee 4, San Diego 2
Arizona 11, LA Dodgers 5
NY Mets 2, Atlanta 2 (Tie)

LA Clippers 127, Oklahoma City 105
Orlando 111, New York 106
Cleveland 116, Brooklyn 114
New Orleans 115, Charlotte 96

Philadelphia 5 Minnesota 4 (SO)
Washington 6, Chicago 1
NY Rangers 2, Carolina 1
St. Louis 4, Detroit 3
Toronto 6, Florida 2
Ottawa 7, Tampa Bay 2
Boston 4, Montreal 2
Nashville 2, Seattle 1 (SO)
Final Dallas 3, Pittsburgh 2
Vegas 3, Calgary 2
Vancouver 7, San Jose 2
Winnipeg 3, Anaheim 2

Gonzaga 79, UCLA 76
UConn 88, Arkansas 65
Kansas St. 98, Michigan St. 93
FAU 62, Tennessee 55

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NCAA Men’s Sweet 16: What to know

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(NEW YORK) -- After a short break, March Madness is back Thursday night with the men’s Sweet 16.

The field of 16 was set on Sunday when the second round of this year’s NCAA men's basketball tournament wrapped up.

The tournament, so far, has been filled with upsets and drama. Two no. 1 seeds have been eliminated from the competition, including the defending champion Kansas Jayhawks.

ABC News’ Will Reeve appeared on Good Morning America Thursday to preview the action as the Sweet 16 tips off:

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/22/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:


Washington 5, NY Yankees 2
Tampa Bay 6, Philadelphia 2
Houston 5, NY Mets 2
Atlanta 5, Detroit 3
San Francisco 4, Texas 0
Chi Cubs 4, Oakland 2
LA Angels 10, Colorado 9
Seattle 5, LA Dodgers 1

Toronto 2, Baltimore 1
Texas 2, Chi White Sox 0
Kansas City 4, Chi White Sox 3
Minnesota 11, Boston 0

Cincinnati 4, San Diego 1
St. Louis 0, Miami 0 (Tie)

Denver 118, Washington 104
Indiana 118, Toronto 114
Miami 127, New York 120
Golden State 127, Dallas 125
Milwaukee 130, San Antonio 94
Memphis 130, Houston 125
Philadelphia 116, Chicago 91
Minnesota 125, Atlanta 124
Portland 127, Utah 115
LA Lakers 122, Phoenix 111

Edmonton 4, Arizona 3 (OT)
Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 2

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/21/23

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:


Chi Cubs 6, Kansas City 2
Houston 2, Miami 1
LA Dodgers 4, Cleveland 2
Chi White Sox 6, Milwaukee 5
LA Angels 7, Arizona 1

Baltimore 6, Boston 2
NY Yankees 6, Detroit 3
Oakland 6, LA Angels 5
Minnesota 5, Tampa Bay 2

San Diego 14, Colorado 2
Pittsburgh 4, Philadelphia 3
San Francisco 12, LA Dodgers 1
Washington 4, St. Louis 4

Boston 132, Sacramento 109
Oklahoma City 101, LA Clippers 100
Orlando 122, Washington 112
Atlanta 129, Detroit 107
Cleveland 115, Brooklyn 109
New Orleans 119, San Antonio 84

Calgary 5, Anaheim 1
Vegas 4, Vancouver 3
Nashville 7, Buffalo 3
Montreal 3, Tampa Bay 2
Philadelphia 6, Florida 3
Carolina 3, NY Rangers 2
Boston 2, Ottawa 1
Minnesota 2, New Jersey 1 (OT)
Columbus 7, Washington 6 (OT)
NY Islanders 7, Toronto 2
Winnipeg 2, Arizona 1
Detroit 3 St. Louis 2 (SO)
Seattle 5, Dallas 4 (OT)

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/20/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:


Atlanta 6, Tampa Bay 5
Pittsburgh 7, Boston 5
Philadelphia 14, Baltimore 6
Cincinnati 10, LA Angels 0
Seattle 7, Milwaukee 2
Arizona 7, Chi White Sox 3

Toronto 5, Detroit 0
Cleveland 5, Texas 5

St. Louis 5, Miami 0
Washington 3, NY Mets 2
Colorado 5, LA Dodgers 1

Charlotte 115, Indiana 109
Chicago 109, Philadelphia 105 (2OT)
Minnesota 140, New York 134
Golden State 121, Houston 108
Memphis 112, Dallas 108
Utah 128, Sacramento 120

Los Angeles 8 Calgary 2
Florida 5, Detroit 2
Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1
Colorado 5, Chicago 0
Edmonton 5, San Jose 4 (OT)

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/19/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:


Washington 2, Detroit 1
Atlanta 5, Minnesota 0
Baltimore 8, Pittsburgh 0
Miami 5, Houston 4
Boston 9, Philadelphia 5
Colorado 7, Kansas City 0
Cleveland 3, Colorado 1
San Francisco 9, LA Angels 6
Oakland 6, LA Dodgers 3
Arizona 13, Kansas City 2

Tampa Bay 1, Toronto 0
Baltimore 5, NY. Yankees 3
Texas 2, Seattle 1
Chi White Sox 6, Seattle 2

St. Louis 8, NY Mets 7
Final Milwaukee 4, Cincinnati 3
Chi Cubs 5, San Diego 2

Denver 108, Brooklyn 102
Oklahoma City 124, Phoenix 120
San Antonio 126, Atlanta 118
Miami 112, Detroit 100
New Orleans 117, Houston 107
Milwaukee 118, Toronto 111
LA Clippers 117, Portland 102
Final LA Lakers 111, Orlando 105

Boston 7, Buffalo 0
Minnesota 5, Washington 3
Vegas 7, Columbus 2
NY Rangers 7, Nashville 0
St. Louis 3, Winnipeg 0
New Jersey 5, Tampa Bay 2
Vancouver 2, Anaheim 1

Michigan St. 69, Marquette 60
Gonzaga 84, TCU 81
UConn 70, Saint Mary's (Cal.) 55
Creighton 85, Baylor 76
Xavier 84, Pittsburgh 73
Kansas St. 75, Kentucky 69
Miami 85, Indiana 69
FAU 78, Fairleigh Dickinson 70

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/16/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:


Houston 3, St. Louis 0
Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 1
LA Angels 3, Milwaukee 2
Philadelphia 10, Detroit 1
Pittsburgh 9, NY Yankees 6
Texas 3, LA Dodgers 1
San Francisco 0, Seattle 0 (Tie)

Tampa Bay 2, Minnesota 0
Cleveland 5, Chi White Sox 1
Kansas City 2, Oakland 0
Baltimore 7, Toronto 4

Arizona 3, Chi Cubs 1
San Diego 7, Colorado 1
Washington 3, NY Mets 0

Denver 119, Detroit 100
Toronto 128, Oklahoma City 111
Sacramento 101, Brooklyn 96
Indiana 139, Milwaukee 123
Phoenix 116, Orlando 113

Los Angeles 4, Columbus 1
Seattle 2, San Jose 1 (OT)
NY Rangers 4, Pittsburgh 2
Florida 9, Montreal 5
Colorado 5, Ottawa 4
Tampa Bay 4, New Jersey 3 (SO)
Boston 3, Winnipeg 0
Chicago 2, Nashville 1
Edmonton 4, Dallas 1
Arizona 3, Vancouver 2
Calgary 7, Vegas 2

Alabama 96, Texas A&M-CC 75
Houston 63, N. Kentucky 52
Kansas 96, Howard 68
Texas 81, Colgate 61
UCLA 86, UNC-Asheville 53
Princeton 59, Arizona 55
Duke 74, Oral Roberts 51
Furman 68, Virginia 67
Penn St. 76, Texas A&M 59
San Diego St. 63, Coll. of Charleston 57
Tennessee 58, Louisiana-Lafayette 55
Missouri 76, Utah St. 65

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

First round of March Madness begins Thursday

PhotoAlto/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The First Four wrapped up Wednesday night, setting the field of 64 teams for this year’s NCAA men's basketball tournament.

The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights and Arizona State Sun Devils advanced on Wednesday to the first round of competition, which begins on Thursday. On Tuesday, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders and Pittsburgh Panthers toppled their opponents to move on in the tournament.

ABC News’ Will Reeve appeared Thursday on Good Morning America and previewed the first games in the March Madness schedule:

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/15/23


(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:


Chi White Sox at San Francisco (Canceled)
Cleveland at San Diego (Canceled)
Toronto 7, Pittsburgh 1
Houston 9, Atlanta 3
Philadelphia 9, NY Yankees 8

Seattle at Oakland (Canceled)
Boston 9, Tampa Bay 1
Texas 4, Kansas City 3

Washington at Miami (Canceled)
San Francisco at Arizona (Canceled)
Chi Cubs at Cincinnati (Canceled)
Colorado at LA Dodgers (Canceled)
Arizona 2, Milwaukee 0 (Canceled)
St. Louis 4, NY Mets 1

LA Clippers 134, Golden State 126
Miami 138, Memphis 119
Philadelphia 118, Cleveland 109
Boston 104, Minnesota 102
Sacramento 117, Chicago 114
Houston 114, LA Lakers 110
Dallas 137, San Antonio 128 (OT)

Minnesota 8, St. Louis 5
NY Islanders 6, Anaheim 3
Colorado 2, Toronto 1 (SO)
Washington 5, Buffalo 4 (SO)

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

16-year-old softball player with cerebral palsy inspires thousands with surgery recovery

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A 16-year-old softball player with cerebral palsy has gained thousands of social media followers sharing her recovery efforts after a major leg surgery.

Throughout her life, Charlie Duffy has had over 20 surgeries to help correct pain and walking issues affecting the left side of her body — a subtype of the condition known as hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy can affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It's the most common motor disability among children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It's estimated that 1 in 345 children in the United States have been diagnosed with the development disorder.

"There's always that, 'What if I might not be able to walk or do things on my own?' And I kind of beat the odds," Duffy told "GMA3."

For the teen, playing softball has been a source of motivation. She said feels a "rush of adrenaline" whenever she makes a play or gets a hit.

She was in PE class one day when she noticed that her foot was turning in again as she walked, which would require another surgery to correct. In May, surgeons cut Duffy's femur in half, rotated it and secured it with a plate.

Before the surgery, Duffy's Instagram posts were about her softball workouts. Now, she needed something new to post about.

"I just posted a video of me getting out of bed after my surgery, just so people can who are following my softball journey know that softball is not the only part of my life. And that kind of blew up unexpectedly," Duffy said.

Duffy now has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, where she shares snippets of her life and recovery progress. The mental aspect has been almost hard as the physical, she said.

"You're competing with yourself and your thoughts. And I think so many people dealing with injuries don't take that into account," Duffy said.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from person to person, depending on which parts of the brain have been affected, and may even change over a person's lifetime, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

"I just hope that one person can realize they're going through this battle with a whole community rallying around them," Duffy said.

When Duffy was cleared to do certain softball-related exercises after surgery, she said she felt like her true self again. She's looking forward to getting back on the field.

"I hope to continue to grow my platform to get the word out to people. And I hope to be back playing softball soon and really doing what I love," Duffy said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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