Last year, one of players’ concerns about MLB’s new rules for 2023 was the potential for teams to aggressively challenge whether a team violated the shift. Toe above the line? Erase the field or play.
Now, with Opening Day eight days to go, MLB agrees.
On Wednesday, the commissioner’s office sent a four-page memo to the teams outlining new rules of play for the sport. The pitch clock, shift bans and other core components of the new rules for 2023 remain in place, but the memo makes adjustments in seven areas.
The biggest change in the memo is listed last: How Violations Change Challenges work. The batting team cannot now attempt to catch a player who was essentially unrelated to play in violation.
From the memo: “The defensive team may always review the referee’s judgment regarding whether the defense complied with the turnover restrictions rule. However, the offense may only review the referee’s judgment with respect to the player who was the first to touch the ball after the pitch. For example, The team at bat will be allowed to review the umpire’s judgment as to whether the shortstop has violated a rule following a ground ball first touched by the shortstop. base on a ground ball first touched by a shortstop.”
The union agreed to this change. It was the only change listed that required approval by the players association because it was an amendment to bring the regulations back.
The players requested a meeting with members of the competition committee on Monday and expressed various concerns. Some counted in the changes, while the league didn’t bite into others. Among these: the players feel that some outfielders in large stadiums should be given leeway if they are running to lead the inning, or that pitchers coming from outfield bullfights, especially in cold weather, should also be given some leeway. In general, players want referees to help move the game along with common sense, rather than chasing violations.
Here are the other six categories of changes made in Wednesday’s note. Rob Manfred left the door open on Tuesday for more changes, perhaps even more significant, but once the season gets going. “We have another set of issues that we want to see in some regular season games before we make a decision about it,” he said.
• Brush Tones and Big Twists: If the batter is knocked down or pushed back by a pitch, the start of the clock is delayed until the batter is made up and back to the edge of the batter’s box. The same is now true if a hitter takes a big swing and loses a foot, that is, when someone loses their helmet.
• Pitchers Covering First Base, Third Reserve or Home: If the pitcher covers first base, the clock will not start until he reaches the grass. On plays where the pitcher is down on third or home, the clock will not start until the pitcher is in fair territory.
• The catcher ends the inning on base, at bat, or on deck: The umpire has the discretion to give the catcher additional time between innings if the catcher is at the plate, on the deck, or on the bases to end the previous inning. This isn’t automatic, though; The umpire will watch to see if the catcher is making a reasonable effort.
From the memo: “If the referee determines that extra time is warranted, the home plate umpire will send a signal to the FTC (Field Timing Coordinator) to close the Inning Break Timer before the Inning Break Timer reaches 30 seconds remaining. This signal will generally sound with 35 seconds remaining. When The catcher is in place, the umpire will indicate to the pitcher that he still has one warm-up pitch remaining, and the catcher may drop to second base. The umpire will reset the timer to 15 seconds when the umpire determines play is ready to resume.”
Each team is required to have a backup catcher ready to warm up the pitcher between innings, and the umpires do not award an extra pitcher to warm up the pitcher if the backup catcher is not ready to warm him up.
• Bat boys and girls: Boys and girls bats meet with the visiting team before each series to discuss equipment preferences and MLB will monitor the “performance” of boys and girls bats throughout the season. The league may request that a bat boy or girl be replaced if they are contributing to a game delay.
There is now also a leniency for situations where a boy or girl bats a long way to get back into position:
“If the bat boy/girl needs extra time to safely exit the field, the referee will not assess a penalty from game procedure, provided the referee does not find that the club is attempting to circumvent the pace of game procedure. If the bat boy/girl needs extra time, the referee will concede turns off the Pitch Timer and resets the clock when play is ready to resume. To minimize situations that require a forfeit, boys/girls who leave third base dugout to collect equipment from a hitter who has reached first base are encouraged to return to first dugout rather than attempt to cross the field.”
Mix timeouts: Batting timeouts (once per plate) expire when the batter returns to the box or indicates to the umpire that he is ready:
“The umpire will determine that the hitter has used his one timeout when the batter exits the batter’s box after entering the box and becomes alert to the pitcher. Accordingly, if the batter has already used his one timeout during the plate appearance and subsequently exits during the same plate appearance, the umpire will evaluate Pitch timer violation (auto strikeout).The only exception to this rule is that a batter who exits the batter’s box with more than 8 seconds left on the Pitch Timer will not be deemed to have called his timeout, provided the pitcher is not tangled with rubber at the time the batter exits The batter’s box: If the batter exits the batter’s box in this condition, the clock continues to run and the batter must return to the batter’s box and become alert to the pitcher with at least 8 seconds remaining on the Pitch Timer.
“If the hitter uses his timeout and is replaced by the pinch hitter later in the plate appearance (For exampleif a hit occurs), the pinch hitter will not receive a timeout.”
• PitchCom crashes: Pitchers or pitchers in trouble on the PitchCom must immediately request time and tell the referee why:
Provided that the referee does not believe that the player is attempting to circumvent game procedures, the referee will allow time and allow the players to resolve the issue. The coach may visit the mound for the purpose of providing the players with a new receiver or transmitter. Such a visit will not count against the club’s allotment of five mound visits (provided that no The coach and players discuss topics unrelated to the signals or the PitchCom system.) A coach who visits the mound to help resolve a malfunction in the PitchCom system must alert the referee as to the purpose of the visit upon leaving the dugout.”
Most importantly, players don’t get a reprieve if they leave their device in the stash. The bat boy or girl can take out the device to the mound, but the clock will still be in effect:
“Of course, the club can always use the Mound’s visit in order to solve the problem, or simply choose to play the half without using the PitchCom.”
MLB plans to send out a memo on Friday detailing the guidelines for using transmitters in the regular season and this year’s playoffs.
Why was there a problem with bat boys/girls?
You knew the pitch timer was a challenge for hitters and pitchers. Who knew it would be a big enough challenge for the bat boys/girls that the league would have to just send them a memo? But this is a real issue.
As I wrote earlier this month, there was a situation this spring in which the bat-boy took so long to gather equipment after a double and take it out of the field that Javy Báez of the Tigers had an automatic hit called him in just to wait for the bat-boy to get out of the fairgrounds. – Stark
More time for shooters on the go
The memo also says that if a pitcher has to leave the mound to cover first base, or to back up a base, the clock run must not run the timer until the pitcher is on his way back to the mound. excellent idea.
Until this clarification, umpires had been told that they should only allow timeouts for catchers who were running the bases or batting when the inning was over. Shooters have noticed! A number of them have complained of having to rush back to the mound after a field game and not having enough time to breathe and regroup. So this modification makes sense.
A noteworthy omission: Outfields players made similar complaints about running a long distance to get to the final inning, then having to rush back to the dugout to drive the next inning. But the Competition Commission ruled that it still felt a two-minute and 15-second break between innings was enough time for them. – Stark
Replay and transformation
This tweak tightens up how replay reviews are used in conjunction with shift bans. Prior to this clarification, the batting team can request a review of whether any The player has violated the rules of transformation. Now, only the “first player to touch the ball” can review their position with a replay challenge.
This may sound logical. But before that, the coaches brought to my attention a potentially large base flaw. It will be like this: ninth inning. Download the rules. two outs. Single run game. full count. The batter flies to the warning lane in the left for the final out. game over. or is it?
The batting team claims the short man was illegally placing his foot on the turf and is asking for a review. Reconfirm it. The batting team then has the option of accepting the outcome of the play (for an out-and-out) or accepting a pink offense (for a motorball). So the automatic ball takes four and the game is tied.
We got a lot of weird and wild column writing out of that mess. But violations unrelated to the play should never have been allowed. So it’s fortunate that the league addressed this before someone won (or lost) a regular season game because of this clearly unexpected outcome. – Stark
(Photo: Nathan Ray Sibeck/USA Today)
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