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Welcome to the new world of baseball.
Yes, players not only have to battle fastballs, strike zones and umpires, but also a clock as well.
Time doesn’t stop for anyone, even athletes.
On Friday, LSU was leading Kansas State 7-3 heading into the top of the 9th inning. Even though they looked like they were on their way to an easy victory, its HOW they won that has people scratching their heads.
BASEBALL IS IMPLEMENTING NEW RULES EVERYWHERE
With a 1-2 count, Kansas State’s Roberto Pena was issued an automatic strike after he failed to get set in the batter’s box within the newly required time table. It ended the game.
Under new NCAA baseball guidelines, the pitcher has 20 seconds in between pitches to throw the ball when a runner is on base. The batter has to be set and ready to go with at least 10 seconds remaining on the clock.
It’s baseball’s new way to trying to speed up the game, something that those at the top believe is the best chance they have to bring in a younger audience that is falling away from becoming fans of the sport.
I understand the premise of it, but that is a tough way to lose a game. Imagine if the score was 3-2 and the stakes were higher? There’s so much that goes on already from both the pitcher and batter’s mindset that having a clock counting down to judgement day has to add some additional stress.
BASEBALL IS HOPING TO MAKE THE GAME GO FASTER
The NCAA has also implemented a “Mercy Rule,” like you would have growing up at the local park. If a team is leading the other by 10-runs or more after the 7th inning, the game will be called with the leading team being given the victory. Gone are the days of miraculous, late-inning collapses that lead to glorious come-from-behind wins. Baseball doesn’t want that anymore. Instead, they want you to be able to be home in time to sit at a dinner table while everyone is staring at their phones.
It will be interesting to see just how strict umpires are with enforcing the clock. You can be sure that opposing manager’s will be yelling and screaming from the dugout if the home plate ump starts slacking off – especially since the entire stadium is all looking at the same clock. For MLB, there will be clocks behind the batter that the pitcher can see, as well as in the outfield that the batter and fans will be able to see.
One thing’s for certain, it appears in both the NCAA and in the Majors that the umpires are definitely going to be adherent to it in the beginning. Just yesterday, the San Diego Padres Manny Machado was given an automatic strike after failing to get into the batter’s box in time. He literally didn’t even see a pitch yet and was already down 0-1.
ALL 30 MLB TEAMS PLAY TODAY
Major League Baseball has also implemented other rule changes for this season including changes to the defensive shift, having an automatic runner on 2nd base during extra innings, and oh yeah – pizza bases.
Social media had mixed reactions on the KSU-LSU automatic strike. Many complained that the new rules are ruining the game and taking away from strategy. Others argued that both sides have to abide by the same rules and players have been made aware of what they are, so it’s their own fault.