MLB, with the agreement of the MLB Players Association, have announced the rule changes in effect for 2019 and ones that will go into effect in 2020.
The most significant ones won’t be in effect until next year. But take a look, and see what you think. Maybe we can get a bit of a discussion going.
For me, I don’t really care about speeding up the game, and I don’t like taking away decisions that have been traditionally managers’ prerogatives. Some of the other changes seem to make sense (All Star ones and the change in July 31 trade deadline), without impacting the nature of the game.
But I’m conservative (as far as baseball is concerned) and believe that trying to speed up the game to try to placate our Attention Deficit Disordered audiences is generally a fool’s errand.
Changes for the 2019 Season
- Inning Breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. (The Office of the Commissioner retains the right to reduce the inning breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the 2020 season.)
- Mound Visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
- Trade Deadline: The trade deadline will remain July 31st; however, trade waivers will be eliminated. Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.
- Joint Committee: MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential changes.
- All-Star Game:
- All-Star Game fan voting will be conducted in two rounds. During the “Primary Round,” each Club will nominate one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans. In late June or early July, an “Election Day” will be held in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) will be voted on by fans during a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star Game starters. Further details on the new fan voting format will be announced in April.
- All-Star bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders). Additionally, the prize money awarded to players on the winning All-Star team will be increased beginning with the 2019 All-Star Game.
- Both Clubs will start the 10th inning of the All-Star Game, and each subsequent inning, with a runner on second base (re-entry substitutions allowed for runners).
- Home Run Derby: Total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million. The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.
The single July 31 trade deadline means there will likely be a lot more action. The MLBPA is hopeful that the single deadline will also incentivize teams to be more aggressive in the offseason knowing that trades in August are no longer an option. The All-Star Game Election Day will be a chance for MLB to market its players. Fans will vote online for All-Star starters, and the top three vote-getters will take part in a one-day election. (More details on the two-step voting process here.)
Changes for the 2020 Season
- Active Roster Provisions:
- The active roster limit from Opening Day through August 31st and in Postseason games will increase from 25 to 26, and the minimum number of active players will increase from 24 to 25. The current Major League Rules allowing for a 26th player for doubleheaders will be amended to allow for a 27th player.
- Elimination of 40-man active roster limit in September. From September 1st through the end of the championship season, all Clubs must carry 28 players on the active roster.
- The number of pitchers a Club may carry on the active
roster will be capped at a number determined by the joint committee.
Clubs must designate each of its players as either a pitcher or a
position player prior to each player’s first day on the active roster
for a given season. That designation will remain in effect for the
player, and cannot change, for the remainder of the championship season
and Postseason. No player on the active roster other than those
designated as pitchers by the Club may appear in a championship season
or Postseason game as a pitcher except in the following scenarios:
- Players designated as a “Two-Way Player.” A player qualifies as a “Two-Way Player” only if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current championship season or the prior championship season;
- Following the ninth inning of an extra-inning game; or
- In any game in which his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when the player enters as a pitcher.
- Minimum Number of Batters for Pitchers: The Office of the Commissioner will implement an amended Official Baseball Rule 5.10(g) requiring that starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or the end of a half-inning (with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness). The Players Association has agreed that it will not grieve or otherwise challenge the Office of the Commissioner’s implementation of the amended Rule 5.10(g).
- Injured List and Option Period for Pitchers: Subject to input from the joint committee, the minimum placement period for pitchers on the Injured List shall increase from 10 days to 15 days, and the minimum assignment period of pitchers who are optionally assigned to the minors will increase from 10 days to 15 days.
T schultz said:
Leave the game as it was .take time to enjoy the game and surroundings .
Our younger fans are too impatient .
They want to go to the game but only spend a couple of hours doing it .
The same with other activities .every one is in a hurry these days .
What a better way to spend time with family and friends than a day at a ball game
As far as money goes ,why does every thing have to be tied to the dollar.
Play the game for the love of the game
Land Wayland said:
The change I already dislike is the one reducing the time between innings. That is when I like to look at the ballpark and the crowd and talk with my fellow game watchers and move a bit.
If they think that such a move can appease those baseball dilettantes who enjoy the idea that they enjoy watching a baseball game, they are mistaken. Those people should be watching soccer where they can be fooled into thinking that something is happening on the field just because everyone is running around.
Each half inning of a baseball game is like a separate picture in a fine art gallery and must be given space and time to be appreciated. Rushing through a game is like being on a bus tour in Amsterdam and being told by the guide that the time allotted to view all of the great paintings in the Rijksmuseum will be 30 minutes
Next thing you know this same committee will be telling us that all meals in a fine restaurant must be consumed in 29 minutes or that artists can only use a limited list of authorized colors to paint with or that all three scoop ice cream cones must be finished (including licking the fingers) in six minutes.
Living life takes time and those who rush through everything (1) never truly savor anything and (2) will complain that have gotten to the end too early. Those who understand and appreciate the flow and rhythm of a baseball game know how to take the time to choose important things to do and then how to do them well.
Besides, by cutting down the time between innings, that means the TV networks will have less advertising time to sell and the announcers will have less time to go to the bathroom or grab a bite to eat. Neither can be happy with that.
Tim Malieckal said:
I like the tweak to the trade deadline loophole. It was such a farce.
Adding one more player to the active roster is a great move. I’ve seen teams lose a game for want of one more catcher or BP guy a handful of times every season. It’s really a provision to save owners from spending money, not for the players, so I’m all in favor.
Am I right to infer that there’s no more 40-man roster? I think that too is a good move, because it always seemed so weird that teams that were out of it could throw caution to the wind when playing against teams that had a lot at stake in September games.
Chris Boutourline said:
“Time is of the essence” seems to be the mantra of MLB as they try to gain a foothold with a new generation of fans. In a brief internet search I found the MLS & NBA are pulling in the kids and tweaking the timing of MLB games isn’t going to change that trend much. I think the “pitcher must pitch to 3 batters or end of 1/2 inning” rule is a mixed-bag; the lefty/righty relief dance can be a bit tiresome but it’s strategy.