Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that they will begin testing six new rules during the Arizona Fall League.
A detailed view of an MLB logo stitched into a glove before the Chicago Cubs MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 8, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
The new rules, developed by MLB's new Pace of Game Committee, aim to speed up games:
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.
Commissioner Bud Selig announced the new initiatives in a press release, assuring everyone MLB will work "with the appropriate parties" before making any firm decisions.
"The Pace of Game Committee is eager to test various ideas — ranging from the incremental to the dramatic — in order to learn more, and we are fortunate to have a setting in which we can do exactly that," he said.
"We will work with the appropriate parties — including players, umpires, our partners, our fans and many other contributors to our game — to form effective pace-of-game recommendations that will fit the Major League level," he added.
Nevertheless, many fans turned to social media to slam the new potential rules.
Oh joy MLB is thinking about instituting more stupid pace of the game rules.— MassRafTer (@mongo_ebooks) October 1, 2014
This would be a stupid rule change, @mlb: "Pitchers no longer have to deliver four balls for an intentional walk." http://t.co/jFqzpqWGBP— Brad Gerick (@BradGerick) October 1, 2014
if this stupid "pace of the game" rule comes in effect in the MLB the whole game will change— David Long (@itsdavidlong) October 1, 2014
Game clocks in the MLB is the most stupid idea i have ever heard of #mlb— John Mistretta (@mistretta_john) October 1, 2014
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