MLB ANNOUNCES RULE CHANGES FOR 2020 SEASON
For the Record
Over the years major league baseball has attempted to shorten the length of nine-inning regular-season games.
A couple of years ago a rule was tried in spring training whereby the pitcher had a certain number of seconds to make the next pitch.
Wife Susan and I were at College Station last weekend to watch the series between Texas A&M and Army.
In all three games pitchers had 20 seconds to make the next pitch ONLY when there were no runners on the basepaths. Then the clock was off. Teams also had two minutes to get off the field after the third out and the other team to do their between-inning warm-up throws.
This really helped speed up the games without anyone expiring the 20-second or two-minute clock.
On Friday we watched Texas Aggies All-American left-hander Asa Lacy pitch five innings and get 14 of the 15 outs via the strikeout route with his 94-97 mph fastball.
Saturday afternoon our grandson Logan Smith started for Army against the Aggies and neither pitcher in the two games violated the 20-second clock.
But this idea apparently was pooh-poohed by major league baseball for use in the regular season.
However, this year MLB went ahead with its planned rules changes for this season, including the requirements a pitcher must face at least three batters or end the half-inning, unless he is hurt, according to last week’s issue of USA Today Sports Weekly.
The changes were agreed to by MLB and the player’s association last March 8, subject to the study of a joint committee. The three-batter minimum will start in spring training games on March 12.
Statistics reveal there were 2,162 pitching appearances of three batters or fewer last year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, but 1,471 of them finished with the end of a half-inning or a game.
Another change for this season is the increase of the active roster by one to 26 from opening day through Aug. 31, which will drop from 40 to 28 through end of the regular season and then return to 26 for the postseason.
Each team may have a maximum 13 pitchers through Aug. 31 and during the postseason and 14 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.
If a game gets one-sided and the manager decides to use a position player to pitch, he will not count against the team’s pitcher limit. Position players are prohibited from pitching through the ninth inning unless the player’s team is winning or losing by six or more runs when he takes the mound.
“What had been a 26th player for certain day-night double-headers through Aug. 31 will become a 27th player in those situations. That player won’t count against the pitcher limit,” the USA Today article pointed out.
“The injured list and option recall minimum period for pitchers will increase from 10 days to 15, an effort to slow the use of relievers by teams who shuttle off pitchers between the majors and minors. There will be a seven-day concussion IL.
“Managers’ time to challenge a play with a video review has been cut from 30 seconds in 2019 to 20 in 2020,” the article concluded.
KWICKIES…When West Orange-Stark superintendent, Rick Harris, wrote his editorial about Black History Month he violated the No. 1 rule of a journalist—know everything about what you are writing about. He had a great tribute to New York Yankee baseball player Andre Robertson, but failed to know that West Orange High School and Lutcher Stark High School merged in 1977 and refers to Andre as graduating in 1976 as a Mustang alum. Actually, Andre was proud to be a West Orange Chief baseball player–which Harris pointed out in his editorial–but still referred him as a Mustang alumnus.
I heard the news Monday that the widow of Kobe Bryant is suing the helicopter company for flying in unsafe weather conditions and bad judgement by the pilot for violating their own flight rules by taking off in extremely foggy conditions.
For the handful of boxing fans besides myself, last weekend’s highly anticipated bout between undefeated mammoth heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder at Las Vegas resulted in Wilder’s corner throwing in the towel in the seventh round after Fury dominated every minute of every round, knocked down Wilder twice and landed 58 punches to 18 for Wilder.
The Houston Astros organization is concerned for those who played on the 2017 World Series Championship team that are receiving death threats to themselves as their families and said so during last week’s annual meeting with the Major League Baseball Players Association that lasted more than three hours. The team wants the MLBPA to provide adequate protection for the players and their families when the team is on a road trip.
JUST BETWEEN US…Our grandson Logan Smith, who was named Pitcher of the Week by the Patriot League and Outstanding Player of the Week by West Point for his shutout of Duke last week, started against Texas A&M Saturday afternoon and pitched great, but didn’t get any support from his defense in that tragic fifth inning. Army was leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, surrendered a legitimate sacrifice fly by the Aggies to tie the game and then was victimized by three physical errors and two mental boo-boos which led to four more unearned runs. All five of the Aggies hits were ground balls. Logan was replaced in the sixth inning trailing 6-2 and was the losing pitcher of record despite his teammates adding three runs in the last four innings with the final score 6-5. Logan’s two-game totals are two earned runs in 12 innings, six hits, 14 strikeouts and two walks. His earned run average is still a minuscule 1.67 as he gets ready for two games each against Air Force and Campbell at Fayetteville, N. Car. this weekend. The undefeated Texas Aggies (8-0) moved up 2 spots from 20 to 18 in this week’s Division 1 College Baseball poll after sweeping Army (1-5) last weekend.