September 10, 2022

More Details On The New Rules

The more I read about MLB's new rules for 2023 (and, sadly, beyond), the more I despise them. On some level, I can't believe all of this garbage is being done.

I'm in favour of less dead time between pitches -- and that means games will be played in less time, so that is a plus. (Get it over with!) But as I said last night, MLB could have (and should have) instituted a pitch timer many years ago by enforcing an already-existing rule which states pitchers must pitch the ball within 12 seconds. Commissioners Bud Selig and Rob Manfred have only themselves to blame for that decades-long error.

Will these radical changes increase attendance and viewership to any appreciable degree? I am skeptical. Does anyone think more fans are tuning in and buying tickets because of the automatic intentional walk and the three-batter-minimum decree?

Anthony Castrovince ( offers more details:

Pitch Timer

In an effort to create a quicker pace of play, there will be a 30-second timer between batters. Between pitches, there will be a 15-second timer with the bases empty and a 20-second timer with runners on base. . . . This rule [also] limits on throws to first base . . .

• The pitcher must begin his motion to deliver the pitch before the expiration of the pitch timer.

• Pitchers who violate the timer are charged with an automatic ball. Batters who violate the timer are charged with an automatic strike.

• Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark or else be charged with an automatic strike.

• With runners on base, the timer resets if the pitcher attempts a pickoff or steps off the rubber.

• Pitchers are limited to two disengagements (pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance. However, this limit is reset if a runner or runners advance during the plate appearance.

• If a third pickoff attempt is made, the runner automatically advances one base if the pickoff attempt is not successful.

• Mound visits, injury timeouts and offensive team timeouts do not count as a disengagement.

• If a team has used up all five of its allotted mound visits prior to the ninth inning, that team will receive an additional mound visit in the ninth inning. This effectively serves as an additional disengagement.

• Umpires may provide extra time if warranted by special circumstances. (So if, as an example, a catcher were to be thrown out on the bases to end the previous half-inning and needed additional time to put on his catching gear, the umpire could allow it.) . . .

Defensive Shift Limits

The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base. . . .

• The four infielders must be within the outer boundary of the infield (i.e. cleats in the dirt) when the pitcher is on the rubber.

• Infielders may not switch sides. In other words, a team cannot reposition its best defender on the side of the infield the batter is more likely to hit the ball.

• If the infielders are not aligned properly at the time of the pitch, the offense can choose an automatic ball or the result of the play.

• This rule does not preclude a team from positioning an outfielder in the infield or in the shallow outfield grass in certain situations. But it does prohibit four-outfielder alignments.

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