The MLB has adopted some new changes for 2016….check it out.
New rules redefining what constitutes a legal slide while trying to break up a double play and two additions to the pace-of-game initiatives have been agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The slide rule is intended to protect infielders while still allowing for aggressive baserunning. The latter continues efforts, which began last season, to improve the tempo of games.
Here’s the skinny on what you need to know:
THE SLIDE RULE
The basics: In the past, runners were given wide latitude coming into second base as long as they were close enough to touch the bag.
Under the new Rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.
This issue rose to the forefront during the 2015 Postseason when Chase Utleybroke up a potential double play in Game 2 of the NLDS with a controversial slide that ended up injuring Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.
A runner may still make contact in the course of a permissible slide, but is specifically prohibited from using a “roll block” — think Hal McRae in the ’77 ALCS — or intentionally initiating (or attempting to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder’s knee, throwing arm or upper body.
Violators will be called out for interference, and the batter-runner will also be called out. Interference will not be called, however, if the contact is caused by the fielder positioning himself or moving into the runner’s legal path to the base.
Potential violations will be subject to instant-replay review, as will “neighborhood plays,” in which a middle infielder straddles the base or glides past it on a double-play pivot. That play was previously not eligible for replay review, and this change will mean an end to the tactic, meaning middle infielders will need to touch the base while in possession of the ball when turning a double play. If they don’t they risk the umpiring not giving them the out or the opposing manager issuing a challenge.
PACE OF PLAY/MOUND VISITS
These changes come with less fanfare, but may have a more tangible impact on the fan’s viewing experience.
The basics: Visits to the mound by managers and coaches — which previously had no time limit — will be limited to 30 seconds and between-inning break times will now match the commercial time: 2 minutes, 5 seconds for local broadcasts and 2 minutes, 25 seconds for nationally televised games. The break times were 20 seconds longer last season, but the change is expected to allow the resumption of play to more closely match the end of the breaks.
The timer for mound visits will be the same in-stadium clock that measures the between-inning breaks. The timer will be set at 30 seconds and will begin counting down when the manager or coach has exited the dugout and the timeout for a mound visit has been granted by the Umpire. Unless the manager (or coach) signals for a pitching change, he must leave the mound when (or before) the timer reaches “0” (zero) seconds.
In 2015, MLB instituted a few pace-of-play measures that had a significant impact on time of game. The focus of these changes revolved the aforementioned clocks between innings and keeping hitters in the batter’s box. Almost all of last year’s pace-of-game initiatives, which helped reduce the average game time by 6 minutes, 7 seconds per nine-inning game, will continue.
Source: Paul Hagen…MLB