Speeding Up Pace of Game

Rule was applicable in Minor League Baseball last year and will be used in MLB beginning this season.
(1) The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate:
(i) The batter swings at a pitch;
(ii) The batter is forced out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iii) A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”;
(iv) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(v) The batter feints a bunt;
(vi) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(vii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(viii) The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.
If the batter intentionally leaves the batter’s box and delays play, and none of the exceptions listed in Rule 6.02(d)(1)(i) through (viii) applies, the umpire shall award a strike without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. The umpire shall award additional strikes, without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch, if the batter remains outside the batter’s box and further delays play.
Rule 6.02(d)(1) Comment: The umpire has the discretion to issue a warning to a batter in lieu of calling an automatic strike for the batter’s first violation of Rule 6.02(d)(1) in a game, so long as the batter’s violation is judged to be brief and inadvertent. The umpire shall give the batter a reasonable opportunity to take his proper position in the batter’s box after the umpire has called a strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(d)(1) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(d)(1).
(2) The batter may leave the batter’s box and the dirt area surrounding home plate when “Time” is called for the purpose of
(i) making a substitution; or
(ii) a conference by either team.

I like the fact that batters will be required to keep one foot in the batter’s box during the entire AB.  With a few exceptions of course.  I’m guessing it’s important for the batter to have a good relationship with the umpire.  He will have the discretion to add a strike or issue a warning.  I’m sure we will see far fewer instances of starting to walk to first base thinking it’s ball four before the ump makes the strike/ball call.  Or else, it’s another strike!

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6 years ago

Good stuff. I think this is long overdue.

I can also see this being hard on a few of our favorite Rox. Betancourt is notoriously slow, so is JDLR. Tulo ALWAYS steps out of the batters box and does some sort of velco load fatigue test on his batters gloves after every single pitch.

6 years ago

I see Fangraphs lists Tulo as the most flagrant abuser of stepping out. He’s number one. I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, the home of the National Baseball Congress. This is the governing body of semi-pro ball. They have a state and national tourney each year which has featured many great big leaguers. Some of those were Joe Carter, Tom Seaver, Mark McGwire, Tug McGraw, Pat Gillick, Randy Jones, Satchel Paige, Rafael Palmeiro, Todd Zeile, Whitey Herzog, Don Sutton, Graig… Read more »

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