As per MLB’s official Twitter in a joint announcement with the MLBPA, there will be seven, yes SEVEN, new pace of play rule changes being implemented this season with the hopes of shaving seconds off of the games, yes SECONDS! Let’s take a quick look at these changes in the order listed as per @MLB’s tweet:

  1. Announced last week, removing the four pitch intentional walk. Say what you will, but who cares. All the people up in arms need to move on. It is so rare to see a wild pitch or a batter swinging any more and will help keep pitch counts as accurate as possible.
  2. Implementing a 30 second window for managers to challenge and request a replay review. In my opinion, 30 seconds is still way too long and will not deter from managers watching the coach on the phone, awaiting the thumbs up or down. In order to really make a difference, umpires should allow managers 10 seconds or less for the thumbs up or down and then move on.
  3. Umpire challenges have been moved back one inning to the 8th, as opposed to the 7th. Again, not sure if this will impact game times, but the less chances for replay, the more I am behind any kind of change.
  4. A “conditional” 2 minute review for replays… “allowing various exceptions”. Welcome to the replay clock a la the NFL. This is another meaningless rule. The replay crews in New York don’t need 2 minutes, but that is what it takes to retrieve the headphones and get the umpires on the field set up to be given their directives. The better solution would be have the crew chief wear an earpiece connected to New York and at times of replays, turn it on and hear the decision. Guarantee if the technology is fully functional it would’t take more than 15 seconds.
  5. Teams can’t use advanced technology and metrics to gain advantages in defensive shifts and placement. This really has no impact on pace of play and will just force them to find other, secretive, ways to gain an advantage on their opponents.
  6. More clarification to the balk rule. Again, how does this impact pace of play?
  7. Lastly, coaches must stay in the coaches box, before a pitch, and can’t interfere with the play, afterwards. Umm, okay, because that will be enforced for all of never.

So out of MLB and MLBPA’s 7 agreed upon rule changes, only 2 have some sort of impact on pace of play and again, those valuable seconds saved in time of game i’m sure will be invaluable for oh so many fans.

Until next time…