For the first time in over a decade, Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee has enacted several changes for this season.
(1) The allotted time between pitches has been reduced from 20 to 12 seconds, violation of which results in a called ball.
(2) Conversely, an called strike will be assessed whenever the batter steps entirely out of the batter's box between pitches, except for "certain gameplay conditions."
(3) Automatic 10-game suspension for scuffing the ball (the Kenny Rogers rule)
(4) Perhaps the strangest rule involves gender objectivity: the rulebook now includes the disclaimer that references to "he, him, or his" shall be deemed to be a reference to "she, her, or hers" where applicable. (Take note Catholicism)
(5) The guidelines by which official scorers perform their duties have been dramatically clarified and specified. This rule will be the one that most directly affects the fans, and includes things like when a steal will be ruled a "steal" or "catchers indifference," or when a play should be labeled an error or a single.
(6) Lastly, all games that end in a tie due to inclement weather or uncontrollable elements, these games should be picked up from where they left off before their next scheduled game; if the two teams do not play again, then the tie will stand unless an outcome would decide a playoff spot, in which the game would be replayed in its entirety.
Most announcers and analysts seem to be making a big deal out of all this, but personally I don't see how this will affect anything, aside from maybe the "games ending in tie" rule, which actually makes a lot of sense since it will prevent coaches from having to reconfigure their rotations for an additional game. I never even knew there was a time limit between pitches to begin with, and I find it hard to believe that umpires aren't going to be extra lenient in regards to the "keep a foot in the box" rule. It's no secret that MLB is trying to speed up the game, but you aren't gaining or losing any additional fans with the creation of these rules. People know when they come to a game that out of the 3-4 hours they are there, there is going to be maybe 20 minutes of "action." If you want speed go watch soccer or hockey. In general, people come to watch ball because of the atmosphere, the strategy, and the long ball, so all the time wasted inventing ways to speed up the game should have just been channeled into finally trying to put an end to this steroid/HGH stuff.
Whatever random intern came up with the new cap fabric though, kudos, because wool caps suck in hot weather, they itch, and they stink when covered in sweat/rain. So, the players got that going for 'em, which is nice.