Getting a move on

The season’s just started in Triple-A baseball, and I haven’t dragged my miserable self to the ballpark just yet, so I missed the big Pitch Counter, the dictates of which will be enforced starting the first of May:

Pitchers will be allowed 20 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position.

The pitcher does not necessarily have to release the ball within 20 seconds, but must begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position to comply with the 20-second rule.

For the first pitch of an at-bat, the timer shall start when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the dirt circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber, and the batter is in the dirt circle surrounding home plate.

The timer will stop as soon as the pitcher begins his wind-up, or begins the motion to come to the set position.

If the pitcher feints a pick off or steps off the rubber with runners on base, the timer shall reset and start again immediately.

Umpires have the authority to stop the 20-second timer and order a reset.

Following any event (e.g., pick-off play) that permits the batter to leave the batter’s box, the timer shall start when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the dirt circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber, and the batter is in the dirt circle surrounding home plate.

Following an umpire’s call of “time” or if the ball becomes dead and the batter remains at-bat, the timer shall start when the pitcher is on the pitcher’s plate and the batter is in the batter’s box, alert to the pitcher.

And should there be a Pitch Clock Violation, the count increments by one ball; presumably, if the count is already at three balls, the batter walks.

This isn’t the only rule change intended to speed up the games:

Inning breaks will be two minutes, 25 seconds in duration. The first batter of an inning is encouraged to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with 20 seconds left on the inning break timer. The pitcher must begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position at any point within the last 20 seconds of the 2:25 break.

Beginning May 1, should the pitcher fail to begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position in the last 20 seconds of the inning break, the batter will begin the at-bat with a 1-0 count.

Beginning May 1, should the batter fail to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with five or more seconds remaining on the inning break timer, the batter will begin the at-bat with a 0-1 count.

Should any of this prove Not Heinous, we may see it at the major-league level eventually. I’m not sure what I think of this yet, largely because I have yet to see it in an actual game; I have yet to hear the guy doing the radio call make any mention of someone getting a warning from the umpires for dawdling.

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3 comments »

  1. backwoods conservative »

    21 April 2015 · 10:18 am

    Baseball is played in the heat of the summer. I don’t blame any of the players for taking their time.

    I also believe that the reason southern folks talk slower than their northern counterparts is because of the difference between dealing with the oppressive heat and humidity of summer in the Deep South and the effort it takes to stay warm in the biting cold of northern winters.

  2. McGehee »

    21 April 2015 · 11:44 am

    So pitchers and batters will step away immediately after each pitch or other “event,” and stay out longer. The game may even slow down as a result.

  3. jsallison »

    22 April 2015 · 8:40 pm

    One of these days I’m going to stick around after work and catch a Redbirds, er, 89’rs, er, Dodgers game…

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