As the 2015 season approaches, the Atlantic League is set to try a more extreme way of speeding up the game.
According to Fox Sports, a batter will be called out if he hits a foul ball with two strikes and will be given a walk for three balls instead of four. These changes will be tested when the Long Island Ducks host the Bridgeport Bluefish for an exhibition game on April 18.
The league said the changes for the exhibition game were proposed by a 68-year-old author and baseball fan named Paul Auster. The league also said the changes were not under consideration for regular season games and are to serve as an experiment for ways to improve the pace of games.
The Atlantic League aren’t strangers to trying new things to speed up the game. Last August, the league adopted a few pace-of-play rules which included the “no-pitch intentional walk” — where the manager or the catcher would have to indicate to the umpire they intended to intentionally walk a batter so the batter could take first base without the pitcher having to throw four balls.
Other adopted rules included reducing the amount of warm up pitches a pitcher was allowed to throw from eight to six, requiring batters to have at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the duration of his at-bat and requiring pitchers to deliver the ball to the plate within 12 seconds when no one is on base.
Anton Joe is an Independent League Baseball Writer for Baseball Essential. You can follow him on Twitter @AntonJoe_BBE.