Major League Baseball announced some different rules for the upcoming season. The big rule in hopes to speed up the game will be the time in between innings. Before, on a local broadcast (i.e. NESN) the time in between innings would be two minutes and five seconds. Under the new rule changes, it’ll now be two minutes. For national broadcasts the old rule was two minutes, 25 seconds in between innings, now it’ll be two minutes. It may not sound like much when you have 17-18 breaks during a typical baseball game, it adds up. On local broadcasts we’ll be eliminating roughly a minute and a half. Nothing to really be amazed by there, but on national broadcasts, we’ll be cutting out nearly eight minutes. Again, not a huge gain but it’s a small step.
Mound visits will be reduced from six to five.
July 31st will be a hard trade deadline. That’s it, no trades period can be made after July 31st.
Position players will be prohibited from pitching unless the game is in extra innings or a team is either behind or ahead by at least eight runs.
No more seven and 10 day injured list (formerly the disabled list or DL), the minimum time a player will spend on the injured list will be 15.
But perhaps the biggest change is believe it or not; the All Star game. There will be a $1 million payout to the winner and a raise for the winning team in the All Star game. Probably for the best that baseball is killing the notion of the home field advantage in the World Series that was a disaster. Furthermore, the voting for the All Star game has changed too. Fans will still be able to vote for their favorite All Stars. But the difference will be the addition of “election day.” Election day will be the top three vote getters at every position will then be elected again by the fans to start the mid-summers classic.
Another item to speed up the pace of play is the use of relief pitchers. Before, you were allowed to use “specialists” or bring in someone to face a particular batter. Thankfully, that’s gone now because MLB announced that all pitchers must face a minimum of three batters. With pitchers getting two minutes in between changes, you’ve already eliminated another several minutes off the game. Although, this one appears to kind of be forced on the players:
One surprising development that emerged from today’s MLB rule changes is that the three-batter minimum for relief pitchers in 2020 will be unilaterally implemented by the commissioner’s office. Clark’s terse response: “We did not agree to the three-batter minimum.”
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 14, 2019
What could a sneaky big change come 2020 are the roster changes. Teams will be allowed to have 26 players on the active roster, 27 for double headers. But the biggest change to this, is the elimination of the 40 man September roster. Now, teams will only be allowed 28 players. This eliminates teams from bringing up players in September to get “big league experience.” What this rule will do is it gives teams the opportunity to bring up former MLB players on minor league contracts without giving them a year of eligibility.
“We want to improve the game and we want to make it more appealing to the younger crowd,” Reds lefty reliever Zach Duke told USA TODAY Sports this month. “The attention span of the younger crowd is a lot different than it was even 10 years ago. I understand some of the proposals and the intention behind it.
Baseball is finally doing some real things to address the pace of play issue. The next stop will be a pitch clock but there is already so much opposition to that. But for now, baseball is on the right path.