Pace-of-Game Rules to be Introduced Friday

According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball will introduce three new pace-of-game rules intended on speeding up the rate of play in the game.

Rosenthal tweets:

MLB had experimented with increasing the pace of the game in the Arizona Fall League last year. These are the details of the rules as they were experimented with from the AFL (according to MLB’s Pace-of-game site):

Batter’s Box Rule
The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout his at-bat, unless one of a series of established exceptions occurs, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate. (Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip; a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter’s box; “time” being requested and granted; a wild pitch or a passed ball; and several others.)

2:30 Inning Break Clock
There shall be a maximum 2:30 break between innings. Hitters must enter the batter’s box between the 2:00 and 2:15 marks. If the batter has not entered the box by 2:15, the Umpire should call an automatic strike. When the batter is set by the appropriate time and the pitcher fails to begin his windup before the conclusion of the 2:30 period, the Umpire should call a ball.

The “managers challenging plays from the dugout” rule was one not experimented on or mentioned on the site but an obvious choice after managers made a bit of a spectacle coming out to conference before getting signals from the dugout whether they should challenge or not, drawing out and extending games based on the new challenge rules from last season.

Missing from Rosenthal’s tweets were the rules that were experimented with were the 2:30 Pitching Change Break Clock, the Three “Time Out” Limit (intent on limiting visits to the mound, especially to intentionally delay play), No-Pitch Intentional Walks and the “20-Second Rule” pitch clock.

Based on MLB average plate appearance per game, MLB extrapolated that the game times dropped from 2:52 to 2:39, with no accounting for the challenge from the dugout rule.

The official announcement from Major League Baseball is expected Friday.

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