Hell no it’s not, but Commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLB has implemented new rules this spring training and ones that will stand in the MiLB for experimenting reasons and other regulations to be put in play during the regular season.
Rule #1: Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.
Why this is bad? Here’s a win spoon fed to you by the higher-ups. By doing this you’re basically throwing away the excitement for the fans in extra innings. Baseball lovers hope to see the score tied after the bottom of the 9th inning. Why? Free baseball. Not only that but it basically puts the pitcher in a state of perplexity automatically trotting out to the mound. Here’s a way to work around the rule for MiLB managers: Intentionally walk the next batter you see to get a force out opportunity, or even better a possible ground ball double play. I get it, everybody is in a rush nowadays and people don’t have time to watch a 2 1/2-4 hour baseball game. Well those aren’t the type of people who should be allowed at a ballpark. To hell with them.
Why this is good? Only reason I can come up with is the it’s nice to not burn your whole pitching staff in just one, 17-inning game and have to bring in your left fielder as a reliever. Wait a second, lets back track. Isn’t that one of the most hilarious things to see on a baseball field? What gives you a better laugh on a baseball field than your 3rd string catcher giving up a three-run homer, or better yet, striking out the guy who hit a three-run homer in his last at-bat.
THE LAVALSITI VERDICT: DENIED
Rule #2: Just recently, the MLB has announced that instead of throwing 4 pitches outside the strike zone to intentionally put a runner on, the manager will signal towards his man on the mound to put him on.
Why is this bad? It kind of seems pointless if you ask me. It takes three more minutes to lazily throw three more pitches outside the strike zone. Adding to that, there’s been some quacky plays over the last 20 or so years that have resulted from mistakes from intentional walks being either from wild pitches or or the classic Miggy move of steeping out of the batter’s box and pounding a single to the opposite field.
There have been times where intentional talks have rendered some brutal miscues and I don’t think it’s good for baseball to totally rid itself of the four-pitch at-bat, despite the unlikelihood.
Why is this good? Fans get to go home three minutes earlier.
THE LAVALSITI VERDICT: DENIED
Rule #3: The pitch clock. This rule is being put to use in collegiate baseball and in some MiLB leagues, allowing a pitcher only 20 seconds on the mound before he gets the pitch off. It’s obvious that the pace of game is high on Commissioner Rob Manfred’s priority list. “We feel it’s been effective in the minor leagues,’’ Manfred said. “You look month-by-month in terms of where we were in terms of game time, we did really well early and kind of regressed the second half of last year, and certainly this year.” When asked about installing the rule in the MLB he was quick to answer, “I would,’’ he said, “because there’s no temporal assigned to that.”
Why is this bad? This is probably the most significant rule change. You’re tying one of the pitcher’s hands behind his back even before he toes the rubber because his tempo is automatically altered. Baserunners will have an easier time to pick up a pitcher’s timing. Feeling more ruhed out of the ‘pen, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of injuries coming from the MiLB. You’re messing with a pitcher’s tempo. This is just what baseball needed right? More tacky-tack rules to be weary of such as when is the correct time to call “time” while in the batter’s box while the pitcher is in motion. This rule is facing big opposition from the player’s union and for good reason.
Why is this good? Manfred also noted that the amount of time it takes for pitching changes has became ridiculous. “How much time does it take a batter to get into the box? How much time is there between pitches? How much time does it take to effectuate a pitching change?” he said. “There are lots of things around the concept of a pitching change. How quickly does the guy get in from the bullpen? How many warm-up pitches does he need?” Now, this I can agree with. I’ve pretty much memorized Glen Kuiper, play-by-play announcer for the Oakland A’s, sponsorship script of Speedee Oil Change. The hitter is all for this rule change. However, it’s had success in the minors, “The reason I like the clock is not that I’m looking to force somebody to do something, but I think it is a constant reminder of the need to move things along, and I think that’s really important in terms of dealing with the pace-of-play issues,” Manfred told the Daily News. “It’s had great results in the minor leagues. Quantitative data shows that it made the games go faster, but equally important, players don’t complain about it. They get used to it and they work within it.” Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated wrote, “A ball was put in play every 3 minutes, 25,2 seconds–the worst pace ever and up 23.4 seconds from 2006, a 13.3% increase in dead time. The ball was not in play for 30.8% of plate appearances, up from 27.1% from a decade ago.” This is in part due to the increasing number infield shifts, with an expected 28,00 future infield shifts coming season. Just a few years ago, there were only 4,000. Here’s a revelation, if you want to see more base hits and runs being scored, outlaw the infield shift. It’ll let big time hitters such as Robinson Cano, a notorious victim of the shift, have big time performances.
All in all, it’d be a change of about 15 minutes. Those that used the pitch clock rule in the minor league’s had an average game time of about 2 hours and 45 minutes while the MLB averaged just under 3 hours. This rule is inevitable and will most likely be coming soon to ballparks near you, so better get used to it.
THE LAVALSITI VERDICT: INEVITABLE