As a Rule

For the first time since 1996, the MLB Playing Rules Committee has voted in several rules changes for 2007, including a couple of changes to MLB Rule 10 (official scoring). In summary: 1. Tie games that are called because of rain after the 5th inning will be considered "suspended" games, and will be completed later in the season, either prior to the next game between the two clubs at the home club's park, or if the only games remaining between the two clubs are at the visitor's park, then the game will be completed prior to the next game scheduled at the visitor's park. If no more games are scheduled between the two clubs that season, then the game will not be suspended, but rather will be completely replayed at the end of the regular season, but ONLY if the result of the game has a bearing on the post-season. Previously, tie games called because of rain after the 5th inning were considered "official" (all statistics counted) but the game was replayed from the start. AZ PHIL: OK. Fine. Then why not also consider games called because of rain before the game is official and/or games called because of rain after the game is "official" but where one team is ahead as suspended games, too? A real half-assed rule change here that does not address the really unfair situation where Team "A" is winning 12-0 in the 4th inning only to have the game called because of a downpour and/or all-night rain. 2. Batters cannot run to first base on a dropped third strike once the batter has left the dirt circle surrounding the home plate area. AZ PHIL: This means that if a batter realizes a third strike was not caught clean by the catcher, he better realize it before he's halfway to the dugout! 3. A fielder will not be permitted to intentionally scuff a ball. Any fielder who does that (and gets caught) gets ejected from the game and receives a ten-game suspension. AZ PHIL: Old School infielders used to do that all the time. (It was called "gamesmanship"). 4. A pitcher who is caught defacing a ball gets ejected and an automatic ten-game suspension. AZ PHIL: If a fielder gets a ten game suspension for scuffing or defacing a ball, shouldn't a pitcher's suspension be longer? A ten-game suspension for a starting pitcher means he misses one start. Big deal. 5. With the bases empty, a pitcher must throw a pitch within 12 seconds after the umpire designates the batter is ready. Otherwise, a "ball" will be assessed. AZ PHIL: This used to be the old "20 second rule" that was rarely (if ever) enforced, but apparently now there will be a "shot clock"(?) and umpires will be instructed to strictly enforce this rule. Will a horn sound if the pitcher doesn't get the pitch off within 12 seconds? 6. A batter must keep at least one foot within the batter's box for the entire at bat, unless he receives permission to leave from the home plate umpire (like for instance if he breaks his bat or needs to have a conference with the 3rd base coach). The batter will not be permitted to stroll around after each pitch, or walk out if he doesn't like a base umpire calling a strike on a check swing. If a batter leaves the batter's box without the umpire's permission during the course of an at bat, a "strike" will be assessed. If a catcher and pitcher have a conference on the mound during an at-bat, the batter must remain in the dirt circle surrounding the home plate area. For instance, he can't go over and talk to the next hitter on the on-deck circle. AZ PHIL: They did this in the AFL last Fall, and believe it or not, it actually really did improve the pace of the game. 7. A batter who is not standing completely within the batter's box when a pitch is thrown will be assessed a strike (ball is dead). AZ PHIL: Batters who like to cheat by erasing the chalk at the back of the batter's box and stand further back to get a better shot at hitting a pitcher's heater will no longer be gently warned not to do that. But there still will be a problem in calling this as long as the chalk at the back of the batter's box isn't permament and gets easily erased by the first hitter or two in the first inning. 8. Pitchers will be permitted to wear multi-colored gloves, as long as the umpire does not rule that the glove is a distraction to the hitter. AZ PHIL: Who will be the first Cub pitcher to wear a blue and red glove? 9. A fielder will no longer be able to step into a dugout to make a catch. AZ PHIL: It's actually really hard for a fielder to step into a dugout and make a catch, so usually you get the "Bill Buckner Lean Over the Bat Rack." AZ PHIL'S PET RULE CHANGE THEY DIDN'T IMPLEMENT: If a batter loses his grip and throws his bat into the stands during the course of an at-bat, the batter should be called "out." Do it twice in the same game, and the player gets ejected. SCORING: 10. The words "perfect play" have been replaced by the words "ordinary effort" when determining whether a batter gets credited with a base hit on an attempted sacrifice bunt where the defense attempts to put out a preceeding runner. NEW SCORING RULE: "When an attempt to turn a bunt into a putout of a preceding runner fails, and in the scorer's judgment ordinary effort would not have put out the batter at first base, the batter shall be credited with a one-base hit and not a sacrifice." AZ PHIL: So I guess now it will be a little bit easier for a batter to get credit for a base hit instead of assuming a SH/FC on a play where the defense attempts to throw a runner out at 2nd or 3rd and fails. The out at 1B (and the SH/FC) won't be assumed unless the bunt is a very obvious "easy out" at 1st base for the defense, but the defender chooses to try and get the lead runner instead. 11. "Defensive Indifference" will not be scored just because the defense opts to not make a play. The game situation can now also be considered. AZ PHIL: Scoring rules previously directed official scorers to score "Defensive Indifference" on ANY stolen base attempt where the catcher and middle infielder made no effort to challenge the attempt, even if it was the 1st inning. However, some scorers would credit a baserunner with a SB in such a situation, while others followed the letter of the rule and scored "Defensive Indifference" any time during the game if the defense did not attempt to make a play. Fact is, sometimes the defense falls asleep, and it just looks like indifference. AZ PHIL'S PET SCORING RULE CHANGE THEY DIDN'T IMPLEMENT: I believe an error should be charged to a fielder (usually the 2B or SS) who makes a bad throw while attempting to turn a double play. They say you can't assume a DP? Why not? What happens when you assume? Of course a bad throw attempting to turn a DP is an error. Or at least it should be. REMINDER TO OFFICIAL SCORERS: MLB Rule 10.13: "It is not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a fielder's legs or a pop fly falls untouched and in the scorer's judgment the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, an error shall be charged." Too often, I see "Alfonse/Gaston" easy IF or OF pop ups scored as base hits just because they drop in between fielders and nobody touches the ball. Yes, it might be unfair to charge an error to one player over another when two or more fielders are at fault, but it still should be scored an error. Call it a "Team error," I don't care. It's an error. Here's another one: Rule 10.18. Earned runs. Let's say a pitcher gets the first two guys out in an inning, then a batter reaches base on an error. Then four conseccutive home runs. Per MLB Rule 10.18, all the runs are unearned. I disagree. It's fine to say the runner on base via error who later scores is an "unearned run," but the four home runs should not be consided "unearned runs." A better way to score earned runs versus unearned runs is to omit the batter-runner who reached base via error, but consider everything else that happened as having happened anyway. Like if the batter hadn't reached base via error, the pitcher would have given up four consecutive HR starting off the next inning. At least that makes as much sense as ignoring the four HR like they never happened.


I saw these announced rule changes, and yeah, my first reaction to the new rule on tie games was disbelief - it's not just the 12-0 in the 4th situation, but also the concept of finishing off a tie game in a ballpark other than the one that it was started in. Not good. Also don't get the logic behind the scuffing suspensions. The rest of it seems reasonable, and I do agree with you about bats thrown into stands.

Re: 1. I'm sure it's got more to do with ticket sales and fans wanting their money back than the integrity of the game.

Re: 6. Shouldn't they do this in the minors for a little while first? Or do they already? That would have killed me when I was a kid--I always stepped out after every pitch. It was in my routine.

"2. Batters cannot run to first base on a dropped third strike once the batter has left the dirt circle surrounding the home plate area.
AZ PHIL: This means that if a batter realizes a third strike was not caught clean by the catcher, he better realize it before he’s halfway to the dugout!"

This should be called the "A.J. Pierzynski Rule".

2. Batters cannot run to first base on a dropped third strike once the batter has left the dirt circle surrounding the home plate area.

This should be called the “A.J. Pierzynski Rule”.
if they make this rule change retroactive to 2005, can they revise the season so Angels were the AL champs that year?

The batter box rule was something Bill James had been advocating for awhile (or at least something similar). Glad to see it implemented, anything to speed up the unnecessary stupidity between pitches.

What the hell is Trachsel going to do with Rule V? He's going to walk every hitter. Although I seriously doubt they'll enforce it.

Good info, love this quote...

"Old-school managers have to adjust, and if they don't they're not very successful," he said. "You have to adjust to today's game, and to today's player. I don't think that old-school managers would have all that much success in today's game."

Some Floyd vs. John Thomson issue that's funny

and Piniella says whoever loses the 5th starter battle between Miller, Prior, Marshall (and I suppose Cotts/Guzman) would move to the bullpen and be the long reliver

Isn't Bobby Hill one of these take-ten-seconds-to-adjust-the-gloves-after-every-pitch guys? Ramon Arrapaicrag is another guy who comes to mind. The new rule might really screw with their rhythm.

Yeah the NL just won't be the same if Bobby Hill get's out of his groove.

Glavine thinking about retiring after season -- as long as he wins No. 300
- 749 other ML players are thinking about caring.

Wood threw 10 pitches off the mound today...

Trans -- you've got mail.

story on Jones, worked 3 times a week on his shoulder, said he feels far more comfortable, "embarrassed" by the way he threw, more than willing to play CF if needed.

got it, thanks! (actually, I check my mail more frequently than I check TCR's message boards....)

I've finally finished my schoolproject, so I'll have more time to finish our project and to update TG.

It must be spring...

What if Wade Miller actually re-captured his 2002-2003 form? Imagine if we could package Hill and Izturis for a real shorstop, and have a good Prior and Miller backing up Zambrano.

I wouldn't be to hasty to trade young Rich Hill, Mr. Neal. Prior has two years left on his current deal. Plenty of people wanted to package a young "Z" early on as well. IF he continues to improve, he will be a really important element as a lockdown starter.

Marhsall & Izzy, o.k. Or Guzman & Izzy - fine.

ROB G: Thanks for the JJones article. It answers many questions in my mind. Bruce Levine on his baseball show this morning still feels he could be gone before Opening Day. I really hope not. I believe he'll fit in with all of the new additions really well.

I don't think Jones is going anywhere before Opening Day unless Pie leaves absolutely no doubt he is ready for the Show. Even then, I believe the Cubs will keep him at AAA until he has less than a years service time in 2007. Anytime after that, if Pie's ready, I believe he'll be recalled to play CF or RF depending on where Soriano's most comfortable.

I wouldn't be in favor of trading Hill either at this time. He wasn't a guy the Cubs really rushed to the majors, and at 27 it looks like he might have figured out how to pitch instead of just throwing.

It's really hard to say until the Cubs are 30-40 games into the season what they should trade for, but with the exception of Veal, Samardzija, and Pie I wouldn't hesitate to trade Jones, Miller, Ohman, and AA/AAA 'prosect for what they need -- SS, #2 hitter, set up man, etc.

Re: #2 ... thats for you AJ
Re: #4 ... thats for you Kenny Rogers
Re: #5 ... thats for you Matt Capps


What the hell is Trachsel going to do with Rule V?

I wonder if he could be grandfathered in like an old spitballer.

1) It looks like MLB is really serious about speeding up the game this time. Maybe they should consider the Aramis Rule also: when a ball is hit and it looks like an easy out, runner will automatically be called out w/o having to trot to 1B.

2) If Hendry considered Rich Hill untouchable when he still hadn't had any MLB success, then he absolutely will NOT trade him now that he has had a good run late last season. Hill will be around for a bit.

3) Also we should stop all this talk about Prior going down to injury again simply because it doesn't help him any. What you say is what you get, so why don't we try saying that Prior will be back to his 03 form and see what happens this time.

1. When Hendry was asked who was untouchable, he said 'Derrek Lee', he didn't say anything about Hill.

2. The reasons you've mentioned to keep him are the same that make him a valuable commodity to other teams. You're not going to get Michael Young for Cesar Izturis.

3. Wrirgley is a bad place to pitch for flyball throwing left handers (Hill's flyball tendencies weren't that bad last year though).

Rich Hill (or Ted Lilly or even Mark Prior for that matter) being a flyball pitcher won't play as big a role as you mention. The fact is that most of the time Wrigley plays neutral.

It is dangerous when the wind blows out, but the past few years we've actually had more games with the wind blowing in, making it a pitcher's haven.


It's quite common that the wind blows in more than blows out at Wrigley, regardless this is what happens:

Park Factor - 2006
Park Name Runs HR
Wrigley Field 1.075 1.212

Park Factor - 2005
Wrigley Field 1.015 1.052

Park Factor - 2004
Wrigley Field 1.123 1.329

Sean Estes 2003
Home ERA 5.9
Away ERA 5.57

Glendon Rusch 2004
Home ERA 3.58
Road ERA 3.34

Glendon Rusch 2005
Home ERA 4.68
Road ERA 4.38

Sean Marshall 2005
Home ERA 4.96
Road ERA 6.27
Mosly a BABIP problem, lower HR rate on the road.

Rich Hill 2006
Home ERA 2.51
Road ERA 6.81
All rates better at home.

When *he figured it out* since his most recent call-up he made 9 home starts vs 4 road starts, which I think explains most of that disparity.

I still believe he is going to be the Cubs' 2nd best starter this year, Wrigley is just not a good place to pitch if your a lefty.

If the Cubs decide they have excess starters and they are going to trade one guy on March 30th, who is going to be?
Zambrano - Probably not going to trade your 'Ace' if you have World Series aspirations
Lilly - Cannot
Marquis- Cannot
Prior - Even with a healthy spring, will have a injury risk tag
Miller- Even with a healthy spring, will have an injury risk tag
Hill - Hello!

"rigley is just not a good place to pitch if your a lefty"

Unless the lefty is facing the Cubs.

I am pretty sure if I were a lefty I would want to avoid facing a lineup of:


With the win gusting on a July afternoon at Wrigley.

Anyone notice that JIm Hendry has lost a ton of weight? For real.

The scuffing suspensions were designed with one Kenny Rogers in mind.

Not a real big fan of rules changes in general. These guys today should be playing the same game as Babe Ruth, Tinker, Evers and Chance, ect.

They should definitely still leave their mitts in the outfield grass.

Babe Ruth wasn't playing the same game as Tinker, Evers and Chance. And Chance wasn't playing the same game as Cap Anson. It's not like there's some lump time called "Baseball of Yesteryear" that we can go back to.

R.Belliard signed a minor league deal w/ the nationals.

im fuzzy on the compensation when that happens...anyone know what, if anything, the nats lose?

crunch — February 18, 2007 @ 4:30 pm
R.Belliard signed a minor league deal w/ the nationals.

im fuzzy on the compensation when that happens…anyone know what, if anything, the nats lose?


CRUNCH: Like Cliff Floyd, Ronnie Belliard was a Type "A" FA who was not offered arbitration by his 2006 club (STL) by 12-1-06. So the Cardinals get no compensation, and the Nats don't lose a draft pick.

oh, i thought he was...thnx.

anyone know what happens if he would have been offered arb?

Arbitrators side with Miguel Cabrera... 7.4 mil. Marlins had it coming.

uh oh...marlins payroll up to 17.4m...

time to sell the franchise.

Umm, AJ Pierzynski ran directly to first base. It was the catcher that decided to get a gatorade in the dugout.

But I LOVE the pitching "clock" and the batters box rules. If they enforce them (big if) then the game will be the better for it. Baseball games should not touch 3 hours with any kind of regularity and hopefully this will help in the effort to speed them up.

For anyone who cares, here's my optimal Cubs starting team (someone else do the actual lineup):

vs. RHP

C Barrett
1B Lee
2B Patterson
SS Theriot
3B Ramirez
LF Murton
CF Soriano
RF Jones

vs. LHP

C Barrett
1B Lee
2B Patterson
SS Theriot
3B Ramirez
LF Murton
CF Soriano
RF DeRosa

Yosh Kiwano's towel boy: Cesar Izturis

CRUNCH: If Belliard had been offered arbitration by STL on 12-1-06, the Cards would have received the Nationals 2nd Round Draft pick (like the Cubs, the Nats 1st Round pick is "protected") and a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round. .

Horatio — February 18, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

Yosh Kiwano’s towel boy: Cesar Izturis


HORATIO: I saw Yosh at Fitch the other day. He looks fit and heathy and he's still workin' for the Cubs (55th year!). He started working for the Cubs the year before I was born.

Sorry Horatio but you are wrong. AJ didn't leave the batting circle but had turned almost entirely around. that was the problem with the entire play. Had he broke for first with out moving towards the dugout, it would never have been a controversy.

Oh H, fantasize all you want but Izturis is your starting shortstop when real lineup cards are posted. And barring injury, I'll bet that happens at least 145 times this season.

Some useless predictions (that I reserve to change later on down the road just for the heck of it) ...

1. Ted Lilly wins 17 games
2. Rich Hill has a disappointing campaign, to the point that he isn't guaranteed a job in 2008
3. Ryan Dempster is awful, again
4. Jacque Jones has the best offensive year of his career
5. Cesar Izturis bats .280, makes the All-Star team and wins a Gold Glove
6. Kerry Wood is a revelation in the bullpen, but persistent worry over him breaking down at any moment never go away
7. Alfonso Soriano finishes 3rd in the MVP voting behind Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols
8. Mark DeRosa is better than expected
9. Felix Pie spends all but September down in Des Moines
10. Matt Murton hits .290 with 70 RBIs while Cliff Floyd hits .270 with 20 HRs

Bruce Levine isn't a resevoir of great knowledge. I wouldn't put much stock in his opinion that Jacque Blacque Schlaque will be gone by Opening Day. He's simply predicting as opposed to basing on insider knowledge.

"7. Alfonso Soriano finishes 3rd in the MVP voting behind Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols"

This would be awesome! Finishing 3rd, what .280 45 120? That would be sweet.

new article on

Lou Piniella said Jacque Jones could bat second or fifth, depending on what outfield combination he comes up with.

"Look, what's going to determine all these things is what happens in center field," Piniella said.

2 gazillion K's at the top of the lineup?

Ryan Theriot now wearing #2 and borrowing Orange-guy's glove for outfield play

Notice LouPa starts every first sentence around media types with "Look,..."; I guess it's his version of Well Dude.

These idioms are pretty common lately. Ed O'Bradovich has, "I gotta tell ya"., and Mike North has, "Hey, lemme tell ya", before he tells ya. Or, "I gotta tell ya this". That's real popular, too. But, a couple $$Mill a year for a high school drop out. I just don't get it.

Bruce Levine is the best, most knowledgeable, and most seasoned local beat reporter working in Chicago. He has had insider information in the past and made correct calls on Cubs (and Sox) signings before other news outllets both this off-season, and last. But, indeed, I do not think he can predict the future. We'll have to wait and see.

Very nice site! Good work.

Nice design, good graphical content. I think I'll come back later again;)

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