Starting off in the minors, of course, but some are pretty big changes.
AAA - increase the size of bases from 15-inch squares to 18-inch squares. This means the distance from home to 1B decreases by 3 inches and the distance between 1B-2B and 2B-3B decreases by 4.5 inches.
AA - restrictions on defensive shifts. All four infielders must have both feet completely within the outer boundary of the infield dirt at the time of the pitch. This applies not only to shifts, but the SS or 2Bman can no longer be positioned deep off the dirt.
High A - The pitcher must now step off the rubber before throwing to any base. This means that a left handed pitcher may no longer do the old lift leg, step halfway and throw. He must step off with his left foot before making any move. This also means no inside move to 2B.
Low A - Only two unsuccessful pickoff attempts per plate appearance allowed. If on the third throw on a runner, the runner is not out, it’s a balk.
Low A West - The pitch clock will go from 20 seconds to 15 seconds
Low A SE - What we’ve all been waiting for…ROBOT UMPS. There will be an umpire stationed behind the plate who will receive a signal whether to call a ball or a strike.
The larger bases will definitely have an impact with the success rate of stolen bases. I don’t have a big issue with this rule.
Regarding defensive shifts, my opinion on this has really changed. At one time, was dead set against putting any limitation on where the defense could line up. I’ve since changed my mind because as much as I want hitters to adapt and hit the ball where the fielders are not, they simply aren’t going to change their approach. I’m sick of this home run or strike out era of baseball. I’m sick of .240 team batting averages being top half of the league so bring on the shift limits. But rather than saying all 4 infielders must be on the dirt, I’d rather it be two fielders required on either side of second base. And I understand that is being considered for the second half of the minor league season if the first half doesn’t produce the desired results.
I have no issue with making lefties step off the rubber to throw to first.
The two attempt pickoff is the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever heard off and will significantly impact the game. The runner will get a huge lead to force the first throw and then he’s basically got a green light to steal. Pitchers will be reluctant to throw over the second time because after that they can’t throw over again or they risk giving him second for free! Who thought this shit up?!?!? This is the most asinine of rule changes I’ve ever seen.
I’m all for bringing back the stolen base. On the throws over, you’ll get two throws over and you can still throw over a third time, but the runner has to get thrown out. So the runner still risks getting picked off with a big lead. The count also starts over on the next hitter. I don’t think it’ll have as big an impact as you think.
I agree about the shift restrictions. But these rule changes are designed to increase action, and I’m ok with that. I’m not one of those who think games take too long or is boring, but more action on the bases is fine by me.
I think the biggest impact will be essentially moving the bases closer together. It may not seem like much, but that extra 3 inches to 1B or extra 4.5 inches from 1B to 2B will be meaningful on a lot of plays.
I might be getting softer with age, but these don’t sound like unreasonable ideas to try out. Wouldn’t want them all instituted in the majors at once, but might as well see if they make things more fun. I expect none of them will have that big an impact for better or worse.
At the very least, nothing here bothers me like the runner on second in extras. That rule makes me want to throw Manfred from a cliff.
Sure, why not? If the changes suck, abandon them. But I don’t see why the current rules necessarily produce the most enjoyable game. Maybe I’ll enjoy baseball even more with 89’6” base paths or limited pickoffs. Or maybe I’ll hate it, like the ghost runner.
If you are taking the shift away, why not go ahead and just say infielders have to stay on the dirt and increase the number of bunts in the game. Bunts for hits are exciting and full of action.
Wonder if the bigger bases will also impact the number of bang bang plays that require replay. My initial thought is that it will reduce replays but now I am swinging to more running means more replays = less action and slows down game.