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Analysis: Making Sense of MLB Rule Changes

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Remember last June when Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon send outfielder Sam Fuld to the mound to warm up?

The Rays were playing at Milwaukee when the incident occurred. Fuld pinch-hit for reliever J.P. Howell in the top of the eighth inning and Tampa Bay scored three runs to take an 8-1 lead. Maddon then had Fuld come in to warm up for the sole purpose of “taking up time” while he got someone up in the bullpen. Maddon had planned on using reliever Joel Peralta while the game was close, but once the Rays pulled away Maddon wanted Cesar Ramos to pitch in the bottom half of the inning.

Ramos wasn’t ready, and so Fuld was sent out there to stall. Fuld never did throw a pitch as Ramos replaced him to start the inning.

MLB has now amended Rule 3.05 regarding this type of behavior. The Playing Rules Committee proposed the tweak in the offseason and yesterday it was approved by MLB, the players’ union and umpires.

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The change will “prohibit a manager from sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game.”

Why is MLB wasting their time on this stuff? The manager could simply send the pitcher out there who pitched the previous inning to stall, or in instances when he has been pinch hit for, he can simply have whoever he brings in, pitcher or position player, toss ball one, and then replace him.

The rule change I like is that the word “baseline” has been officially been replaced in a number of spots in the MLB Official Rule Book by “base path.” Really? They had a meeting and discussed that? Do you suppose that Commissioner Bud Selig was involved in that one?

The only amendment to the Official Rule Book that actually has some substance to it is that is that bats with a scooped end on the barrel can have an indentation of 1¼ inches, up from 1 inch. Pitchers aren’t going to like that as scooping another ¼ inch of wood out of the bat will create more bat speed. Obviously, the powers that be want more offense in the game and less pitching.

The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.