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Proposed Baseball Rule Changes for 2019

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https://www.ncaa.com/news/baseball/article/2018-07-20/college-baseball-20-second-play-clock-recommended

 

College baseball: 20-second play clock recommended

2 visible clocks in DI games would be used by 2019; DII and DIII will be required to have clocks by 2020

NCAA.com
 
Last Updated - Jul 20, 2018 16:19 EDT
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The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee proposed adding two visible 20-second play clocks for all Division I baseball games, starting with the 2019 season.

Division II and Division III would be required to have two play clocks by the 2020 season.

All rules changes must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to review potential baseball rules changes Aug. 15.

 

Under the proposal, the 20-second play clock would start once the pitcher steps on the dirt portion of the mound with the baseball. If the pitcher does not deliver a pitch, make a pick-off throw to a base or step off the pitcher’s rubber before the clock expires, a ball will be assessed to the count. If the batter is not ready to hit by the time the clock expires, a strike will be added to the count.

One clock would be placed in the home plate area, and the other would be located in or behind the outfield wall.

“Pace of play is a hot topic item in college baseball,” said rules committee chair Jim Carone, who is the baseball coach at Wagner. “The committee felt, to improve the game, we need to mandate that we play the game at a faster pace.”

Committee members also debated whether there should be more time placed on the clock when runners were on base but decided to reset the clock at 20 seconds after each pitch.

“We believe it is the most consistent way to do this,” Carone said. “We didn’t want to go the route of having different amounts of time whether or not someone was on base.”

The committee also proposed having a two-minute time limit after each half-inning. The clock would start after the third out is recorded. The current rule calls for play to begin 90 seconds after the last fielder crosses into foul territory.

Coach’s video review challenges

The committee recommended allowing coaches to have two video review challenges per game where the technology is available, starting with the 2019 season.

The following plays will be reviewable by the crew chief at his discretion or with the use of a coach’s challenge:

  1. Deciding if a batted ball is fair or foul. The ball must first touch the ground or a fielder beyond the initial position of the first or third baseman.
  2. Deciding if a batted ball is either a ground-rule double or a home run.
  3. Any catch or no-catch ruling in the outfield or foul territory.
  4. A no-catch ruling in the infield in some instances. With runners on base, a no catch within the infield can be changed to a catch only if it results in a third out. With no runners on base, a no catch within the infield can be changed to a catch at any time.
  5. Spectator interference.
  6. Deciding scoring plays at home plate inclusive of collisions (illegal and/or malicious slides) or time plays.

The following plays will be reviewable only by a coach’s challenge or at the crew chief’s discretion beginning in the last two innings of regulation and extra innings:

  1. Force and tag-play calls at any base.
  2. Calls involving whether a base runner passes a preceding runner; determining whether a base runner scored ahead of a third out; and upon an appropriate appeal by the defensive team, determining whether a base runner touched a base.
  3. Plays involving hit by pitch.
  4. Deciding if a runner failed to retouch a base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught.
  5. The umpire’s placement of runners following a boundary call.
  6. Deciding if interference occurred on a runner’s attempt to break up a double play.

“The technology is available, and so we think it should be used to its maximum capabilities,” Carone said. “The committee believes this a positive step to improve the game because getting the calls right is important.”

When centralized video review is used, the off-field video review official will be considered an extension of the umpiring crew and will have the ability to notify the umpires on the field that a review should be initiated. The video review official will be permitted at any time to initiate a review for plays included in the a-f list above. For the g-l list above, the video review official can initiate review beginning in the final two innings of regulation and extra innings.

Committee members also believe having a challenge system in place can squelch disagreements that players and coaches have with umpires.

“It could help reduce the amount of ejections,” Carone said. “You can just ask the umpires to take a look at the play.”

Other rules changes

  • Defensive players are not allowed to block a base without possession of the ball at any time.
  • A batter cannot make a movement to intentionally be hit by a pitch. A player who leans or sticks a portion of his body outside the batter’s box to be hit will have a strike awarded to the count.
  • Pitchers will not be allowed to fake a throw to third base and then throw to first. A balk will be called on these kinds of pick-off attempts.
  • Pitchers will no longer be required to throw four pitches on intentional walks. Instead, the defensive team can inform the umpire that it is walking the hitter.
  • Teams will be limited to six defensive conferences on the mound per game. Base runners will not be allowed to leave the bases they are occupying during a defensive conference.
  • To be considered in a wind-up position, a pitcher must stand with his chest and shoulders generally facing the batter, with the pivot foot on or in front of and touching the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher’s free foot must be touching or be behind the plane of the front edge of the pitching plate.
  • For a pitcher to be in a stretch position, the pitcher must stand with his chest and shoulders generally facing the respective foul line. The pitcher’s pivot foot must be in contact parallel with the pitching plate, and his free foot must be in front of the pitcher’s plate. It is permissible for the pitcher to turn his shoulders and face the batter while getting the sign and before bringing his hands together in the set position.
  • Any umpire ruling on intentionally hit batters cannot be argued.
  • Any team personnel, other than coaches, who leave their positions, the dugouts or the bullpens at the time of an altercation will be ejected and suspended from the team’s next game.  

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1 hour ago, WarTiger said:

Thanks.....and that's significant in my view.  Glad to see more review options and wish the  "blocking the base" were more clear in practice.....than it's made to be by the rules writers.   By and large I see no changes that seem to diminish the game.....

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How in the hell does a pitcher throwing from the wind stand with his "free foot" behind the front edge of the rubber?  I assume the intent is to outlaw the hybrid wind, which will jack up some pretty good pitchers, but the wording is going to have to be changed on that one.

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4 minutes ago, PowerOfDixieland said:

How in the hell does a pitcher throwing from the wind stand with his "free foot" behind the front edge of the rubber?  I assume the intent is to outlaw the hybrid wind, which will jack up some pretty good pitchers, but the wording is going to have to be changed on that one.

Trying to visualize this and not sure that I've seen a pitcher in the wind up position with free foot that was not on the rubber or behind....but assure this must be an effort to deal with a balk move?    :-\   

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Slowly the game is being ruined by all of the rule changes to supposedly speed up the game. The MLB product is a shadow of what it used to be. Ratings are down and the powers that be are grasping at straws to increase the numbers of younger fans. What they don't accept is that most young people are not going to watch a baseball game whether it is 3 hours or only 1 hour. In the process lifelong fans are being alienated. The rule change that just kills me is no longer having to throw pitches on an intentional walk, which is a beer league softball rule. Good luck attracting new fans MLB; this fan who has followed the game closely since the mid 70s is down to watching post season games only. Disappointing to see the college ranks now following suit.

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Slowly the game is being ruined by all of the rule changes to supposedly speed up the game.

I completely disagree. 

The MLB product is a shadow of what it used to be. Ratings are down and the powers that be are grasping at straws to increase the numbers of younger fans.

Really?  How are they grasping at straws to bring in younger fans.  I'm curious.

What they don't accept is that most young people are not going to watch a baseball game whether it is 3 hours or only 1 hour. In the process lifelong fans are being alienated.

When it comes to MLB that's not at all exclusive to young people.  I'm not going to sit and watch a 3 hour MLB at any time ever. I gave that up more than 15 years ago.  College I'll watch every game i can. I would love to know how you think lifelong fans are being alienated though.  That just doesn't make any sense but rememeber, I don't watch MLB.

The rule change that just kills me is no longer having to throw pitches on an intentional walk, which is a beer league softball rule.

I LOVE this rule.  It's been patently stupid (imo) to have to throw 4 pitches just to put a runner on base.  This is LONG over due and I'm really hoping this rule passes.

Good luck attracting new fans MLB;

Not underdstanding the need for this comment since this thread has ZERO to do with the pro game.

this fan who has followed the game closely since the mid 70s is down to watching post season games only. Disappointing to see the college ranks now following suit.

Most of the time, I detest rule changes at the pro level that trickle down to college and possibly to high school.   But none of these changes do anything to tarnish the college game in the least.  They actually will make it better.

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1 hour ago, WarTiger said:

I LOVE this rule.  It's been patently stupid (imo) to have to throw 4 pitches just to put a runner on base.  This is LONG over due and I'm really hoping this rule passes.

It takes away the possibility of a wild pitch, passed ball, or a pitch being left near the plate and getting hit. This rule change cheapens the game to save a miniscule amount of time. 

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3 hours ago, WarTiger said:

Most of the time, I detest rule changes at the pro level that trickle down to college and possibly to high school.   But none of these changes do anything to tarnish the college game in the least.  They actually will make it better.

Agree.....in fact I doubt the typical fan will even notice the actual implementation of the changes.....pretty subtle stuff that players and managers will have to watch out for but even the intentional walk.....how many times a game does that occur rarely more than once and what will happen is a guy comes to the plate and the next thing you know he is standing on first and that is that.  

The rule I hate because seems that nobody knows what it actually means is the blocking the base without the ball....puts it in the same category of the block/charge in basketball. 

And JMO but any rule that will get those Sunday night Yankee vs Red Sox games over before midnight is good with me....:)   

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23 hours ago, jimpecht said:

Slowly the game is being ruined by all of the rule changes to supposedly speed up the game. The MLB product is a shadow of what it used to be. Ratings are down and the powers that be are grasping at straws to increase the numbers of younger fans. What they don't accept is that most young people are not going to watch a baseball game whether it is 3 hours or only 1 hour. In the process lifelong fans are being alienated. The rule change that just kills me is no longer having to throw pitches on an intentional walk, which is a beer league softball rule. Good luck attracting new fans MLB; this fan who has followed the game closely since the mid 70s is down to watching post season games only. Disappointing to see the college ranks now following suit.

Sport is not played for sport, it’s played for money. It’s no longer a game, it’s a business. Rules changes exist for one reason, to make more money. Ok, sometimes it’s about player safety, but it’s mostly about money. 

This is the world we live in. If you want to see sport that’s not about money, go to your local fields where kids are playing rec (not travel) games, regardless of sport. Once you hit HS, especially in the top 2-3 classifications, it’s now about money. 

 

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On 7/20/2018 at 6:46 PM, PowerOfDixieland said:

How in the hell does a pitcher throwing from the wind stand with his "free foot" behind the front edge of the rubber?  I assume the intent is to outlaw the hybrid wind, which will jack up some pretty good pitchers, but the wording is going to have to be changed on that one.

I’m guessing it means some part of the foot has to be even with or behind he front edge of the rubber. Seems poorly worded. Like you mentioned, some of these new hybrid wind-ups have kids with their off foot 6 inches or more in front of the rubber. Not sure what the advantage is to doing it that way or why there’s a need to change that rule, though. 

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23 hours ago, jared52 said:

sometimes it’s about player safety,

Even then it's still about the money.  You don't want your popular players injured or ending their careers early, and you don't want to be paying out money in class action lawsuits where you are considered negligent in providing safety changes and info.

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1 hour ago, oracle79 said:

Even then it's still about the money.  You don't want your popular players injured or ending their careers early, and you don't want to be paying out money in class action lawsuits where you are considered negligent in providing safety changes and info.

True but the blocking the base rule is still very subjective....as for the other ones, bet most fans won't notice them until an ump frantically waves his hands and points a player to the next base or something.....and fans are wondering...."what was that all about? "    The clock might catch a few pitchers but I've seen that in effect already on TV ...guess they were checking it out and it did not cause any  impact....and was never called that I remember.

That wind-up rule however......sure don't know what brought that about unless some RH pitchers were fudging to make a quicker pick-off to first. 

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On 7/20/2018 at 4:46 PM, PowerOfDixieland said:

How in the hell does a pitcher throwing from the wind stand with his "free foot" behind the front edge of the rubber?  I assume the intent is to outlaw the hybrid wind, which will jack up some pretty good pitchers, but the wording is going to have to be changed on that one.

Umpire here.  The HS rule book went to these definitions for the wind-up & stretch stances a few years ago.  I also do age group club ball games which operate under OBR where there is no distinction made.  Consequently, you have pitchers positioned on the rubber in a "hybrid" stance where the pivot foot is in contact with and at angle to the rubber, and the free foot is positioned not in contact but in front of the rubber.  I've seen pitchers pitch from both the wind-up and the stretch from this hybrid stance.   

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Old Umpire here, LOL. The rule book definition of the strike zone never has changed, however, MLB altered and lowered the top considerably on the field. The excuse being that they are entertainment and do not want to endanger multimillion dollar 'athletes' any more than necessary. Unfortunately, because of the onfield actions of MLB officials, the same movement manifests itself all the way through college, to High School, and down to all age groups. This is unfortunate in my view, but then I am an old man who has been actively involved with the sport in one capacity or another since I was 8 years old and am now 72. Where has baseball gone. War Damn Eagle!

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On 7/21/2018 at 3:22 PM, jimpecht said:

It takes away the possibility of a wild pitch, passed ball, or a pitch being left near the plate and getting hit. This rule change cheapens the game to save a miniscule amount of time. 

Can you show me some stats that shows the frequency any of those above scenarios happen when intentionally walking someone?   So, I'll need the number of intentional walks attempted vs. the number of wild pitches thrown, or passed balls, or a pitch actually being hit and put in play.    I'll venture a GUESS and say its 1% of the time or less.   Can it happen, absolutely, is it likely to happen consistently enough to waste the time throwing 4 unnecessary pitches...ABSOLUTELY NOT..  It certainly doesn't cheapen anything when it rarely happens in the first place.   .

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