MLB Owners Approve Rules Changes

According to a report from Jayson Stark, several rules changes were voted on and tentatively approved during last week’s owners meetings. The changes must be approved by the players’ union before the changes can be implemented for the upcoming season.

Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform in the dugout during games, the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pick off move would be considered a balk and coaches and managers will be allowed to bring interpreters to the mound were among the rules changes approved by the owners.

Baseball’s rules committee voted last year to outlaw the fake-to-third, throw-to-first move. The decision was vetoed temporarily in order to discuss the decision further. Major League Baseball can implement the rule change without having the players vote to implement the new rule. Once the rule is put into books, if a pitcher tries the old trick move, it will be called a balk.

By allowing a seventh uniformed coach in the dugout during games, teams will be able to have assistant hitting coaches on the bench. Under the old rules, assistant hitting coaches, or a seventh coach, could not be in the dugout. The Cubs would be able to have Rob Deer in uniform, along with Dale Sveum, Jamie Quirk, Chris Bosio, James Rowson, Dave McKay and David Bell.

Interpreters would be able to join managers and coaches on the mound for conferences with foreign-born pitches that do not speak fluent English.

While these changes may seem insignificant, they are noteworthy moving forward with the game has evolved in recent years.

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  • Tony_Hall

    I don’t like making the fake to third throw to first now being called a balk.

    But is a fake to 3rd still ok?

    If it is then what happens if you fake to third and are now off the mound and the runner on 3rd wasn’t fooled but the runner on 1st starts running. Are you only able to throw to 2nd or run at the runner? Are you then not able to make a play to 1st?

    I get that some people don’t like the play, that it is a waste of time, or never works. But it does work every so often, and like anything else in sports, if you don’t like a play being run against you, defend it properly and teams won’t do it. But to me the cat and mouse game of runners leading off and pitchers trying to pick them off is a part of the game that needs to stay, and like with anything else, once you restrict pitchers on this play, someone will now try to look at other moves to say that they should now be a balk as well.

    Maybe we should go back to Little League rules and have the runners have a foot on the base and wait until the pitch crosses the plate before they can leave the base, then again if runners don’t like pick-off moves, then don’t get a big lead and you won’t have to worry about pick-off moves.

    • Jay

      You are WAY over thinking things.

      • Tony_Hall

        Most likely I am, but I sure hope the people that are changing the rules of baseball have.

        Instead of worrying about a fake pick-off attempt, how about addressing the inequalities of one league having a DH and one league not having a DH. That has a far, far greater affect on the game.

        • texcubnut

          Totally agree with you 100% on that, Tony. I used to be in the no DH camp but now I just want both leagues to be uniform in their rules.

          • RickinMSP

            Like Texcubnut I used to be very anti-DH. Truth be told I still am. but have resigned myself to the fact that it isn’t going away, so now I’m on the side of DH in both leagues. It is creating an imbalance toward the AL and needs to be fixed.
            As far as the change to the balk rule, I don’t think you’re over thinking at all. Second and thrid order effects need to be taken into account when changing any rule. The smart players and managers will certainly be trying to figure out a way of gaming the system to their advantage so the rule makers need to know exactly how the game will be effected.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can tell you that with MLB rules being the rules of baseball, that I have aleady started thinking about it for my son’s 15U team. We had a pitcher last year who could fake to third, and spin and throw to first and even if the runner was not fooled, be picked off, he was so fast at it. Unfortunately, he was so fast, most umpires would call it a balk, because they didn’t see that he stepped to third and spun to first in 2 seperate moves. But if even people for “kids” teams are thinking about how to adjust and come up with moves, you can be sure that they are at all levels.

          • Tony_Hall

            I have been in the no DH camp as well, but I would prefer one system, so I know the AL and the players association will never give up the DH, so I am in favor of the DH for both leagues.

            The Cubs are good example of the lack of fairness in the system. They have a young player who, if they were an AL team, they would push through the system as fast as his bat keeps hitting those bombs, but being a NL team, he there is not only the bat, but trying to develop his glove to be able to play somewhere on the field. Most likely he is nothing more than trade bait for the Cubs, as he will need to be a DH in the AL.

  • paulcatanese

    Seven coaches on the bench? An interpeter allowed to go to the mound as well as the pitching coach? Teams got along just fine over the last fifty years without the additions.
    If they are talking about the move from third to first being
    a balk,(or is it delay of game?) The extra coaches and interpeter will more than increase the length of play.
    Whats next, individual caterer’s for snacks on the bench?
    Or how about lawyers to interpet contracts before the bunt sign is given, or any sign that may or may not be in the players contract?