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Sunday, February 18, 2007

And More Changing the Rules

In the last post I covered, for the most part, the rules on the field that will be changing in 2007. This was the first time rule changes had been made since 1996. Here is a link to the official document and there are a few others as well.

  • Rule 4.10(d) has been amended so that a regulation game called with the score tied now becomes a suspended game.

    Only common sense. Now if they would only do the same for games "suspended" because of rain.


  • A Casebook Comment to Rule 6.05(a) has been added to the rules to prohibit fielders from catching a ball in the dugout or other out-of-play area. Fielders may no longer enter the dugout to make a catch. Fielders may still reach into the dugout to make a catch but they may no longer step into the dugout to do so.

    Specifically the rule states that fielders "must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area." Seems obvious. A fielder shouldn't be allowed to record an out while not on the field of play.


  • One base, if a fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made rom the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched.

    This codifies the existing interpretation.


  • A new Casebook Comment provides that a pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when sing the set position with no runners on base. However, the Casebook Comment provides for the mpire to declare a quick pitch if, in the umpire’s judgment, the pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard (for which the penalty is a ball when no runners are on base).

    This also seems like a codification of what the normal practice has been.


  • There were also scoring rule changes (section 10.00 of the rules) made, a summary of which can be found here. One of the interesting changes is that the wording in rules 10.09(b) (not 10.08(b) as the document says) has been changed so that a batter will be awarded a hit on a sac bunt if "ordinary effort" rather than a "perfect play" would have retired him had the fielder not chosen to try and put out another runner.

    There is also now a possibly wider definition of defensive indifference covered under rule 10.08(g) (and not under 10.07(g) as the document says). Under the old rule "No stolen base shall be scored when a runner advances solely because of the defensive team’s indifference to his advance. Score as a fielder’s choice." Under the new rule the scorer is instructed to take into account the "totality" of the circumstances. This could be interpreted as including when a catcher and/or pitcher simply seem unconcerned with the runner and even when a half-hearted play is actually made on the runner. It'll be interesting to see how scorers use the new wording.

    In other changes:

  • Added requirement that relief pitcher must be credited with at least 1/3 of an inning pitched. (Rule 10.19(c))


  • Corrected parenthetical to "exclude" catcher’s interference, not “include” it. (Rule 10.16)


  • League empowered to order a reversal, even if official scorer does not wish to change the call. (Rules 10.01(a) and 10.01(b)(1))

    Interesting. Taking a little power away from the scorer.


  • Wild pitch of passed ball should not be charged if defensive team makes an out before runners advance. (Rule 10.13 Comment)


  • Batter not charged with grounding into double play if batter is called out due to interference by preceding runner. (Rule 10.02(a)(17) Comment)


  • Caught stealing, not charged if batter would not have earned a stolen base if safe. (Rule 10.07(h))


  • Added obstruction to the list of events that preserves a consecutive game hitting streak. (Rule 10.23(a))
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