MLB Announces Pace of Play Changes For 2015 Season

On Friday, MLB announced the pace of play changes for the upcoming season that we heard about yesterday. There are four changes that will be put in place, along with some notes below on things the players rejected.

The new rules include the managers staying in the dugout when they call for instant replay, the batters keeping at least one foot in the batter’s box during their at-bat, quicker pitching changes and the game resuming as soon at they return from the commercial break. Violation of the rules will result in fines for the offending players according to Jayson Stark.

As noted in the article, an MLB representative will be at every game operating a timer to keep track of the pitching changes and the commercial breaks. There are a series of events laid out in the article for the commercial break that includes set times for the PA announcer, final warm-up pitches, the batter’s intro music and the actual pitch being thrown.

Aside from the changes for time, there are also changes to the instant replay system that were announced. Managers will have more challenges in postseason games and unlike last year, when the manager got one extra challenge if the call was overturned, he now has an extra one for every call overturned. It’s unlikely that the last rule will make a big difference because there was on average, one challenge issued every other game played last year around baseball. Based on that number alone, you would have to assume there wouldn’t be many games in which one team would use three or more challenges(and get the first 2+ overturned)

The players voiced concerns over the new rules affecting play on the field. In the Arizona Fall League, the violations led to ball-strike calls, but that won’t be an issue in the Majors this season.

Speaking of the AFL experiment with the pace of play, Neil Walker confirmed that the pitch clock was something that the players shot down.

News and Notes

  • So, the manager has to stay in the dugout for instant replays? How is that going to work on a close play? Usually they would come out and delay until they knew whether a challenge was worth it. Does this mean they have to challenge right away? Might they think up some other ways to delay it?

  • So is the Pace of Play a concern for consumers or MLB? I’ve never found it to be that annoying that they needed to speed up the game..
    What does it mean “keep one foot in the batter’s box during their at bat?” — Does it mean when they ask for time, they have to keep a foot in the batter’s box so they can’t wander away from it? or does it mean the distance of about 1 feet from the batter’s box vs walking 5-7 feet away from the batter’s box?

    Do batters sometimes bat with both feet outside the batter’s box?

    • To answer your 1st question, yes it is a concern. I’m fine with the 3 hour game, but the recent trend pushing towards 3 1/2 is just too much. The playoffs are much worse as the inning breaks get prolonged even more due to increased advertising. Having grown up watching games in the 2 1/2 range, it is just unacceptable to watch all the delays. Particularly as a season ticket holder going to night games during the week. The rule changes will speed up the ridiculous challenge process they had last year where the manager walked out on any close play to delay and wait for a replay to decide to challenge. The batters box rule will cut out the nonsense that is many player’s routine (stepping out after every pitch of every atbat). Finally, the quicker return to play and pitching changes is just common sense. Baseball doesn’t need more dead time.

      • I believe these changes will have a minor impact. I agree with you on the challenge process.

        This is just pandering to fans.

  • One foot in the box will sure change some guys batting routines. No more bat kicking for Harrison.

  • Like I said yesterday these changes will help the game and are reminescent of the way the game used to be played. Sad thing is mlb having to implement rules and fines for things that should be common sense.

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