1. A hitter must keep one foot inside the batter’s box throughout his plate appearance. Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip, a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter’s box, a request for time out being granted, a wild pitch or a passed ball and several others.
2. Intentional walks will no longer include the pitcher lobbing four balls outside the strike zone. Instead, the manager will signal to the home-plate umpire and the batter will take first base.
3. There will be a maximum break of two minutes and five seconds between innings, with hitters required to be in the batter’s box by the one minute and 45 seconds mark. If a hitter doesn’t comply, the umpire will call a strike. If the hitter is ready but the pitcher doesn’t deliver a pitch by two minutes and five seconds, the umpire will call a ball.
4. There will be a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds allowed for pitching changes, including those that occur during an inning break. The clock starts when the reliever enters the playing field. The penalty will be that the umpire calls a ball.
5. Each team will be permitted three “timeout” conferences covering any meeting involving pitchers and catchers, managers, coaches and batters. Timeouts during pitching changes and those that result from an injury or other emergency will not be counted toward the limit.
6. All of the above will be enforced in all AFL games. At Salt River home games only, a modified version of Rule 8:04, which requires a pitch to be thrown within 12 seconds after he receives the ball with the bases empty, will apply.
Does anyone outside of that committee think these rules are a good idea? Are they being serious by saying a pitcher no longer has to throw a single pitch to have an intentional walk? Are they being serious by saying umpires are going to award balls and strikes based on how fast an inning starts? Are they being serious by limiting a team to three timeouts a game, completely destroying the way teams have planned and strategized during games since Major League Baseball was founded in 1869?
Come on MLB, don’t mess with the game. Don’t mess with America’s pastime. And if you do want to speed up the game, just enforce the rules that are currently in place. MLB rule 8.04 states “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
This rule is never enforced and I can’t understand why that is. This would be a good start if MLB wants to speed up the game. Try enforcing the rules currently in place before trying to institute ridiculous rule changes.