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).
. 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.
: 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.
. 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 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!
. 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.
: Old School infielders used to do that all the time. (It was called "gamesmanship").
. A pitcher who is caught defacing a ball gets ejected and an automatic ten-game suspension.
: 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.
. 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.
: 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?
. 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.
: They did this in the AFL last Fall, and believe it or not, it actually really did improve the pace of the game.
. 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).
: 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.
. 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.
: Who will be the first Cub pitcher to wear a blue and red glove?
. A fielder will no longer be able to step into a dugout to make a catch.
: 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.
. 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."
: 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.
. "Defensive Indifference" will not be scored just because the defense opts to not make a play. The game situation can now also be considered.
: 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
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.