Major League Baseball announces pace of game initiatives for 2015 MLB regular season

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Major League Baseball has announced new initiatives to increase the pace of play, effective immediately for the 2015 season.

The new rules and guidelines are as follows:

  • Enforcing of the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs.
  • An addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the façade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer will count down from 2:25 for locally televised games and from 2:45 for nationally televised games. An MLB representative attending each game will operate the timers from the ballpark and will track the following event
  • Time Remaining Activity
    40 Seconds PA announces batter and begins to play walk-up music
    30 Seconds Pitcher throws final warm-up pitch
    25 Seconds Batter’s walk-up music ends
    20 Seconds-5 Seconds Batter enters the batter’s box
    20 Seconds-0 Seconds Pitcher begins motion to deliver pitch
  • Pitchers will be permitted to throw as many warm-up pitches as they wish prior to the point when 30 seconds remain on the clock; however, pitchers will be deemed to have forfeited any of their traditional eight warm-up pitches that they are unable to complete prior to the 30-second deadline. Exceptions to these rules will be made in a variety of circumstances, including if the pitcher or catcher ended the prior half-inning at bat or on base.
  • Batters will be encouraged to get into the batter’s box with 20 seconds remaining on the timer.  This is the same time that the broadcasters return from commercial. The pitcher is expected to begin his motion to deliver the pitch as soon as the batter gets into the batter’s box and becomes alert to the pitcher. Batters who do not enter the box prior to five seconds remaining on the timer and pitchers who do not begin the motion to deliver the pitch prior to zero seconds remaining on the timer will be deemed to have violated the break timing rules.
  • These rules will be enforced through a warning and fine system, with discipline resulting for flagrant violators. No fines will be issued in Spring Training or in April of the 2015 regular season.  Donations will be made to the Major League Baseball Players Trust charitable foundation based on the level of adherence to the new rules.

“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play. The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly,” MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred said.

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