Tourtellotte: Minor Tenth: MiLB’s new extra-inning rule

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on August 23, 2018:

Commissioner Rob Manfred is not afraid of making changes to baseball. His term, now in its fourth year, has been marked by a willingness to alter pieces of the game that have seemed permanent and untouchable. In the major leagues, he has instituted the no-pitch intentional walk and a limit on mound visits, both changes made with a view to quickening the pace of play. In a like spirit, he put through a shortening of the time between innings, which, by trimming advertising time and thus advertising money, showed how serious he was about the matter.

His spirit of experimentation has carried over into minor league ball, where he has been even more radical. In 2015, he brought the pitch clock to the upper two tiers of the minors, allowing pitchers limited time to begin their pitching motion before a ball would be called on them. This was a momentous change to a game that had never before operated under a clock. (Umpires did have the rulebook authority to enforce pace rules on pitchers (Rule 8.04), but in practice it had decayed long ago. Manfred apparently decided it required a visible clock to restore this authority.) Manfred hoped to bring that change to the majors in 2018, but pushback from the Players Association convinced him to hold off, at least for a season.

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Originally published: August 24, 2018. Last Updated: August 24, 2018.