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savafan
02-17-2007, 07:39 AM
This could be interesting...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070216&content_id=1804831&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb&partnered=rss_mlb

By Tom Singer / MLB.com

Taking a red pencil to the game's rules for the first time in more than a decade, MLB's Playing Rules Committee has enacted several changes for the 2007 season.

Relax: It's still the game you know and love. Committeemen haven't messed with the game's guts. In fact, although some of the changes are substantial, the most significant aspect of Friday's announcement is that it introduced the first alterations to the Official Baseball Rules since 1996.

Potentially most consequential is the manner in which games that end in a tie, due to weather or other uncontrollable elements, will be resolved. While previously such games were considered official and replayed in their entirety from the beginning, hence they will be "suspended" and resumed at the point of stoppage.

Addressing issues relating to the pacing of games, fair play -- and even the fairer sex -- other rule changes highlight:

Time between pitches: The allotment for delivering the ball with no one on base has been reduced, from 20 seconds to 12. The price for each violation is a ball.

Batter's box presence: Conversely, an automatic strike will be assessed each time a batter violates the rule requiring they keep one foot in the batter's box throughout his at-bat, except for certain game-play conditions -- during which he is still not allowed to leave the dirt area surrounding the plate.

Ball scuffing: Rule 3.02 now calls for an automatic 10-game suspension for any player who intentionally defaces the ball. (Previously, a first offense led to the pitch being called a ball, a warning to the pitcher and an announcement of violation.)

No reason for rosin: The same Rule 3.02 now specifically prohibits placing "soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sandpaper, emery paper or other foreign substance" on the ball. The rule's penalty phase dictates, "The umpire shall demand the ball and remove the offender from the game. In addition, the offender shall be suspended automatically for 10 games."

Gender objectivity: The rulebook now includes the disclaimer that references "to 'he,' 'him' or 'his' shall be deemed to be a reference to 'she,' 'her' or 'hers'" where applicable.

In addition, in a significant sidebar, the guidelines by which official scorers perform their duties have been dramatically clarified and specified, at the behest of Phyllis Merhige, MLB vice president of club relations.

The pace-of-game regulations had been in effect on a trial basis during the 2005-06 seasons in the Minor Leagues, where they gained acceptance.

The revisions reflect the collective input of people in the game during the Playing Rules Committee's long layoff from actively voting on possible changes.

These are the first amendments to the rules since interpretation of the strike zone was changed in 1996.

"It's been a number of years since they've taken stock, so they rolled up their sleeves and attacked a number of issues on which they'd been taking notes," said Ed Burns, vice president of MLB's Baseball Operations Administration.

"New members joined the committee in the interim," Burns added, "and the first thing they did in 2005 was institute the experimental pace-of-game rules for the Minor Leagues, with a degree of success."

The treatment of tie games could be quite consequential. Not because tie games have been so prevalent in the past; occasionally, players have logged 163-game seasons due to an official tie, and there have been three ties in pre-1930 World Series games halted by darkness.

But the revised rule will perhaps permit umpires to react more decisively to adverse conditions, knowing that halting a tie game will not force managers to invent pitching for an unexpected extra game.

"The general managers questioned whether it was good policy to replay games," Burns said, "and asked, 'Why not just pick up where they stopped?' This will keep managers from having to use their entire bullpen to cover for an additional game."

Tie games will resume prior to the next scheduled game between the teams, in the visitors' park if no more games are scheduled at the same site. If no more games are scheduled between the teams, the tie would stand unless an outcome would decide a playoff spot -- in which case the game would be replayed in its entirety.

At the very least, the revisions and clarifying examples included in the rule book will enable umpires at all levels to conduct games according to a uniform set of rules.

Said Sandy Alderson, the chief executive officer of the Padres, who doubles as chairman of the Rules Committee: "A number of issues about the playing rules, some more technical in nature than others, had accumulated among umpires, clubs, players and Major League Baseball for some time. The Playing Rules Committee hopes that these amendments will serve to clarify these issues and, by doing so, benefit all who play and umpire the game at all levels."

The changes to Rule 10, governing official scoring, may have the most direct bearing on fans' perception of the coming season by affecting the game's lifeblood: statistics.

For instance, the guidewords for deciding whether to credit a batter with a sacrifice bunt have changed from him being possibly retired on a "perfect play" to "ordinary effort" by the defense.

And fans weary of hearing "defensive indifference" on stolen-base attempts will be heartened to learn that the scorer must now base that call on all game circumstances, not merely on whether someone covered the base or the catcher got off a throw.

Merhige, who oversees all official scorers at big-league parks, had noted several areas that needed to be improved and standardized. The work of the committee she assembled "came up with a substantial rewrite of Rule 10," Burns said.

Chip R
02-17-2007, 07:53 AM
Time between pitches: The allotment for delivering the ball with no one on base has been reduced, from 20 seconds to 12. The price for each violation is a ball.

Batter's box presence: Conversely, an automatic strike will be assessed each time a batter violates the rule requiring they keep one foot in the batter's box throughout his at-bat, except for certain game-play conditions -- during which he is still not allowed to leave the dirt area surrounding the plate.


Like they are actually going to enforce these rules.



Tie games will resume prior to the next scheduled game between the teams, in the visitors' park if no more games are scheduled at the same site. If no more games are scheduled between the teams, the tie would stand unless an outcome would decide a playoff spot -- in which case the game would be replayed in its entirety.



I don't like having a rule interpreted different ways because it affects the standings. This is a made for TV rule plain and simple.

UKFlounder
02-17-2007, 10:59 AM
Gender objectivity: The rulebook now includes the disclaimer that references "to 'he,' 'him' or 'his' shall be deemed to be a reference to 'she,' 'her' or 'hers'" where applicable.


What's the purpose of this and what does it accomplish? I don't mean to sound like some sexist male pig, but I just don't understand what this is supposed to do, unless it's totally just a "politically correct" statement of some sort.

reds1869
02-17-2007, 11:38 AM
Let's just say I'm not a fan of the changes. The problems with the tie rule are obvious, but I particularly dislike the automatic strike for stepping out of the batter's box. As was mentioned, they probably won't enforce it, but i think rules to "speed up the game" are foolish. Baseball was not designed to be played at breakneck speed, nor do most of us think it is too slow. MLB is really punishing pitchers and batters for engaging in the pace of game stragey that has existed for decades.

Spring~Fields
02-17-2007, 11:45 AM
Like they are actually going to enforce these rules.





I don't like having a rule interpreted different ways because it affects the standings. This is a made for TV rule plain and simple.

Can you imagine the subjectivity and hassle that will be caused potentially, if they do? Example: Oh goody, we get to watch people argue more often instead of playing the game sigh.

jmac
02-17-2007, 11:55 AM
Maybe i am crazy but I dont think the games were too long during the season.
I just believe you can tamper too much with something like they have with college football.
I believe most average around the 3 hour mark , probably less.
During the post-season playoffs...I notice Fox games going into almost 4 hours.
Do they get more time between innings for commercials ?

Yachtzee
02-17-2007, 12:23 PM
I think the obvious reason as to why games are stretching out doesn't have anything to do with pitchers and batters, but rather the increased amount of time between innings. I don't have the stats in front of me but I once read that the amount of time between half-innings has gradually increased over the years so that those televising the games could fit more commercials into a game. If they want more ads, why not make shorter commercials? All these changes will have little effect if any marginal gains in shortening the game are used up by increasing ad time.

With so many pitching changes, I would also cut down on the number of warm up pitches a reliever gets. He's been in the bullpen throwing for a while now. Why not just give him a few pitches to get his bearing and have at it.

paintmered
02-17-2007, 12:31 PM
It's the price we pay for celebrating those fat network contracts. Fox has to recoup that money somehow.

I also think they need to experiment with automatically called balls and strikes. Let's get a true and consistent strike zone once and for all.

George Anderson
02-17-2007, 02:42 PM
It's the price we pay for celebrating those fat network contracts. Fox has to recoup that money somehow.

I also think they need to experiment with automatically called balls and strikes. Let's get a true and consistent strike zone once and for all.

You will never in a million years get the umpires union to go along with that.

IslandRed
02-17-2007, 02:48 PM
Maybe i am crazy but I dont think the games were too long during the season.
I just believe you can tamper too much with something like they have with college football.


Well, the good news is that they didn't adopt the solution college football did, which was for a college football game to involve less football.

paintmered
02-17-2007, 02:50 PM
You will never in a million years get the umpires union to go along with that.

Then get new umpires. Wasn't there an article posted a few weeks ago that detailed hundreds of MLB wannabes showing up for camp?

George Anderson
02-17-2007, 03:39 PM
Then get new umpires. Wasn't there an article posted a few weeks ago that detailed hundreds of MLB wannabes showing up for camp?

Well in order to do that you would have to bust up the current umpires union. Besides do you really want to bring in replacement umps when the current MLB umps are the best in the business?? Also keep in mind the minor league umps have a union to and they arent going to cross a picket line and replace the MLB umps should MLB by some miracle bust up the umpires union. Essentially you will be replacing MLB umpires with ex minor leaguers who are woking at the college level, and keep in mind alot of those ex minor league umps and current college umps wont cross the picket line either.

Bottom line is dont fix what aint broken!!

Chip R
02-17-2007, 03:58 PM
Well in order to do that you would have to bust up the current umpires union. Besides do you really want to bring in replacement umps when the current MLB umps are the best in the business?? Also keep in mind the minor league umps have a union to and they arent going to cross a picket line and replace the MLB umps should MLB by some miracle bust up the umpires union. Essentially you will be replacing MLB umpires with ex minor leaguers who are woking at the college level, and keep in mind alot of those ex minor league umps and current college umps wont cross the picket line either.

Bottom line is dont fix what aint broken!!


Who says these guys are the best? I would think there easily a score of better umpires out there than C.B. Bucknor not to mention others.

And it wouldn't necessarily have to come down to a strike either.

HumnHilghtFreel
02-17-2007, 04:03 PM
I see Nomar Garciaparra getting a few called third strikes this year:)

Also, does the no rosin rule eliminate the rosin bag from the mound? If so, it seems like just another push to take control away from the pitcher.

George Anderson
02-17-2007, 04:13 PM
Who says these guys are the best? I would think there easily a score of better umpires out there than C.B. Bucknor not to mention others.

And it wouldn't necessarily have to come down to a strike either.

C.B Buckner is bad, no doubt about that. Like every profession or sport you can find bad officials and players, it doesnt mean you upset the apple cart and change the whole system just because there are one or two bad ones.

But lets take a earlier suggestion and have a open tryout and invite all these people that want to be MLB umpires to try out. I would compare doing his to what MLB did a few years ago when they locked the players out and were going to start the season using replacement players. If you happened to catch the preseason games using replacent players then you know it was ugly and it would be the same case using replacement umpires.

I would love to see MLB and the umpires union go to a system where a umpire is not doing the job he would get demoted to the minor leagues to work on his game more. If players arent doing the job they get demoted so why shouldnt umpires??

Regardless firing all the MLB umpires and replacing them with College umpires would be really extreme when instead you can simply tweak the sytem and make it better.

George Foster
02-17-2007, 08:55 PM
I see Nomar Garciaparra getting a few called third strikes this year:)

Also, does the no rosin rule eliminate the rosin bag from the mound? If so, it seems like just another push to take control away from the pitcher.

Exactly..how can you put rosin on your hand and not have it on the ball?
Another stupid rule that cannot and will not be enforced.

Redmachine2003
02-17-2007, 09:18 PM
Great put games in the Hand of the Umps and what kind of proof will they have to show the league if they do eject a pitcher and calling extra balls and strikes with out a pitch being thrown. I would think fines would work just as well and not affect the game at all. I do not like any of these rule changes. Just like I don't like the time change in football.

Chip R
02-17-2007, 09:23 PM
Great put games in the Hand of the Umps and what kind of proof will they have to show the league if they do eject a pitcher and calling extra balls and strikes with out a pitch being thrown. I would think fines would work just as well and not affect the game at all. I do not like any of these rule changes. Just like I don't like the time change in football.


Like I said, they won't enforce it. They'll call it during ST and maybe the first couple weeks of the regular season but they'll forget about it after that. This isn't anything new. Every few years they crack down on that sort of thing and then they forget it.

TeamBoone
02-17-2007, 11:43 PM
How do we know they won't be forced to enforce these ridiculous rules? The length of baseball games seems to have been a thorn in someone's sides for a long long time. I don't think they'd bother changing them if they didn't plan to enforce them. Money talks, and the networks airing the games have money.

Are the umpires going to actually have a stopwatch to time pitchers? Twelve seconds isn't very long; sometimes it takes that long (or nearly that long) for the pitcher and catcher to agree on the pitch! That rule does more than just cut the game length; it decreases the quality of the game.

I wondered about the rosen thing when I read it. On hot days, they need it in order to hang on to the ball. And I don't even understand the one about gender... do any women play Major League Baseball?

This stupid nitpicking of the rules makes me sick to my stomach. Like someone else said, baseball isn't played against a clock like football... which is a laugh as a one-hour game takes at least three hours to play; usually longer... and it was never meant to be. Before you know it, they'll cut the game to seven innings, 3 balls = a BB and 2 strikes - a SO.

This is ugly, and I really hate it.

George Anderson
02-18-2007, 12:21 AM
How do we know they won't be forced to enforce these ridiculous rules? The length of baseball games seems to have been a thorn in someone's sides for a long long time. I don't think they'd bother changing them if they didn't plan to enforce them. Money talks, and the networks airing the games have money.

Are the umpires going to actually have a stopwatch to time pitchers? Twelve seconds isn't very long; sometimes it takes that long (or nearly that long) for the pitcher and catcher to agree on the pitch! That rule does more than just cut the game length; it decreases the quality of the game.

I wondered about the rosen thing when I read it. On hot days, they need it in order to hang on to the ball. And I don't even understand the one about gender... do any women play Major League Baseball?

This stupid nitpicking of the rules makes me sick to my stomach. Like someone else said, baseball isn't played against a clock like football... which is a laugh as a one-hour game takes at least three hours to play; usually longer... and it was never meant to be. Before you know it, they'll cut the game to seven innings, 3 balls = a BB and 2 strikes - a SO.

This is ugly, and I really hate it.


What will be interesting is IF the time limit rule is enforced, an easy way to get around being penalized is to ask the home plate ump for time if you think you are about to be penalized. 99% of the time the ump will grant time.

At what point will the 12 seconds start???? As long as one of the batters feet are out of the batters box the umpire cannot put the ball in play even if the pitcher is on the rubber taking signs. Unless they are going to put time limitations on the batter, the batter will have an unfair advantage. He can take all day to adjust his helmet, get his sign, take a few practice swings but once he sets both feet in the box and the ball is put in play the pitcher will have to almost be ready to pitch immediately. The batter can rattle a pitcher by either taking forever to get back in the box if the pitcher is a notorious fast worker or he can get in the box quick if the pitcher is a notorius slow worker. Before the rule the pitcher could take his time to deliver the pitch once the batter is in the box, now he cant. Or the batter can keep the pitcher confused by when he is going to get in the box in order to shake his momentum.

TexRed
02-18-2007, 10:16 AM
The 12 second time limit to pitch will be applied, depending who is on the hill. If Roger Clemens is throwing, he will be allowed all the time he wants. When they start enforcing the pine tar rule on bats, expansion of the batter's box by almost every power hitter, omitting the "area calls at second on a double play, and a host of others then there will be fair application of the rules. It's getting as bad as wrestling sometimes or even pro basketball where you can take 4 steps and dunk the ball w/o a travel call. Even Eric Gregg would be appauled.