MLB will have three new rules that will take effect today. These rules were designed to speed up the game and allow for a better flow in between breaks.
These rule changes are welcomed and even though one of them isn’t a pitch clock for pitchers, it still is a step in the right direction and the teams have all of spring training to get acclimated to the rules. I hope the pitch clock does come soon. Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon takes about 35-45 seconds in between pitches. That’s not necessary.
Let’s break down the three new rules that go in effect today.
1- Managers must make their challenges from the dugout
In theory, this makes a lot of sense. Managers aren’t fast. They walk slowly to the umpire and then they have to explain what they want to challenge. But I wonder how this new rule makes it more effective. Is there a pager they beep to the umpire? A challenge flag? How can an umpire hear what the manager wants challenged? This one should be very interesting to see how many managers ignore this rule and still run out to the umpire.
2 – Batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box at all time unless an established exception occurs
This one makes sense. Some batters will go out of their way per pitch to get out of the box, readjust something, take a few extra swings before returning to the box, set up and prepare for the next pitch. This doesn’t mean that they still won’t do all of that. It just means that the pitcher has an incentive to pitch quicker since the batter never left the box. The only exception I can think of is if a pitch forces the player out of the box.
3 – Play to resume promptly once broadcast returns from commercial break
What has slowed any sporting event over the years are the television timeouts or the time it takes for a broadcast team to go over their key points to the game and it just delays the real game. Even though TV is king, the game is the most important bit. I like this one.
Do you like the new rules? I think they can work. But I expect the committee to continue looking for new alternatives to speed up the game.