Tweet{SCGoogl..." />MLB: New Rules Speed Up Pace Of Play
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Saturday, 21 February 2015 01:29

MLB: New Rules Speed Up Pace Of Play

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Pick up the pace! That’s been on the agenda of fans and Major League Baseball alike for quite some time. Now everyone gets their wish as MLB is finally making an effort to speed up the game. New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t messing around, as today the league and players association announced a number of changes to speed things up in 2015 and beyond.

New rules include returning to play ASAP after commercial breaks, timed pitching changes, keeping one foot in the batter’s box at all times during an at-bat, and managers must remain in the dugout during replay challenges.  

Between innings, teams will now have two minutes and 25 seconds during local broadcasts, while breaks during national broadcasts last two minutes and 45 seconds. Two timers, one on or around the scoreboard, and a second behind the plate will help the umpires keep track of time.  

The countdown starts when the commercials begin to when the first pitch is thrown to the next batter. Pitchers need to complete their eight warm-up tosses before the clock reads 30 seconds left, or they lose the privilege. Batters need to be in the box 20 seconds before the time expires. Pitching changes will be timed similarly to inning breaks.  

Batters must keep one foot in the box at all times except for the following instances: when swinging at a pitch, foul balls, foul tips, brush-backs or chin music, time-outs granted by the umpire, and wild pitches.  

The new rules will be in effect during Spring Training games in the next few weeks, though warnings and fines won’t take effect until May, after the players get accustomed to the changes in gameplay.  

Penalties for not complying with the new regulations include warnings, subject to a series of fines up to $500. Let’s be realistic here. A $500 fine to these guys is like losing a penny, or maybe even less. Barely a slap on the wrist. Harsh.  

Regarding replay, and challenges, managers are now encouraged to request a replay either verbally or with a hand signal from the confines of the dugout instead of going out onto the field. They need to act quickly, making their decision within 20-30 seconds after the initial call on the field reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.    

Manager challenges and replays began last season, and every time it seemed disjointed and took too long to find a resolution. It seemed as though every challenge stopped play for at least five minutes, making fans antsy either at home or in the stands. Hopefully the new replay protocol will facilitate the process.  

Unlike last season, managers now have the ability to review if a runner left a base too early or failed to touch a base properly. Unfortunately for them, it’ll cost a challenge to review the collision rule at home plate. Those calls were at the umpires’ discretion last season.  

Skippers used to keep their challenges on the first overturned call of a game, now they’ll keep their challenge upon every overturned call. In addition, managers will receive a new second challenge in more significant games including regular season tie-breaker games, All-Star games, and most importantly, playoff contests.    

Rumors of a pitch clock behind home plate did not come to fruition, though it was tested in the Arizona Fall League back in October and November, along with the aforementioned batter’s box rule.

Shane Bourque

Shane Bourque is a Rhode Island College graduate with a Bachelor's in Communications working towards a career in sports broadcasting. Baseball is his passion and field of expertise. Shane wrote for ScoutRI.com in high school and interned with ABC 6 in junior year at RIC. Currently Shane works at Advance Auto Parts in Westerly, RI part time. In his free time aside from watching sports Shane works on cars, plays guitar, and rides ATVs. He is a fan of all the New England teams, but truly is a fan of anything baseball.

Website: shanebourque.com

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