Change of pace on the way for MLB

Skyline’s baseball team emulates the major league’s format, however, they disagree with the new rules implemented by the MLB.

Will Nacouzi/The Skyline View

Skyline’s baseball team emulates the major league’s format, however, they disagree with the new rules implemented by the MLB.

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Changes are coming to America’s pastime. Major League Baseball has implemented significant pace-of-play rule changes for the 2015 season, reducing the length of the game.

The average MLB game took roughly three hours last season. MLB and the union announced three new rule changes in an effort to improve and speed up the pace of games.

“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

The first rule change the MLB will now be enforcing the “batter’s box rule” to all major league games, which is a rule already in place in the minor leagues and in college. This rule requires all batters to keep at least one foot in the box, barring any of the designated exceptions.

Second, the MLB plans to including countdown clocks for non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each game. Ideally, the league seems to want this gap in action to be no more than 40 seconds from when the pitcher begins to warm up to when a batter enters the box. If a pitcher fails to complete the traditional eight warm-up pitches before the timer reaches 40 seconds, he forfeits the right to do so.

Baseball players have been schooled to be creatures of habit, and champions of repetition. Adding a pitch clock is a slippery slope.

“That can take an effect on your mind,” Skyline pitcher Mike Espino said. “You can feel a little rushed and pressured if you’re a guy used to taking his time up there.”

Lastly, the MLB has ended the need for managers to leave the dugout to challenge a call on the field. The only situation in which a manager will be able to leave the dugout for a challenge is if the call ended the inning, so the defensive team can be notified to stay out there on the field. Otherwise, the manager can signal to the home plate umpire from the dugout that he may want to use a challenge. Then he can communicate his decision either verbally or with a hand signal.

With all the recent changes to the game, many baseball lovers fear these new rules can alter the complexity of baseball.

“No need to change how baseball is played traditionally,” Skyline Head Baseball Coach, Dino Nomicos said. “It’s not needed to make these changes.”

Historically, baseball has always been a game that was not timed by a clock. Speeding up the pace of the game leaves many baseball purists to wonder who the changes are for.

” I am not in favor of the pitch clock,” said Skyline pitching coach Tony Brunicardi. “Baseball is the only sport not governed by a clock. Why change the fundamentals and context of the game for your average fans and not your die hard fans?”

MLB has said on record that all these rules will be enforced this season through a warning and fine system. Their intent is not to harshly punish players for violations, just make them more aware of it, leading to a feeling of unease and wonder as to where baseball is truly headed.