Rule Changes Could Speed Up Game

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You've heard it before from inpatient sports fans: Baseball is too slow. Baseball needs to move along faster. There's too much down time in baseball. The list of complaints goes on.

Well, now Major League Baseball is looking into the possibility of trying to do something about the speed of the game, much to chagrin of baseball traditionalists.

The six rule changes will be tested this fall in Arizona Fall League games, which begins next week, and whether any of them see the light of day in MLB games is yet to be seen.

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The changes are as follows:

1. The batter must keep at least one foot in the batter's box at all times with the exception of a foul ball, a pitch forcing the batter out of the box, timeout being granted, a wild pitch/passed ball, and several others.

2. There will no longer be pitches actually thrown in an intentional walk. The manager will just hold up four fingers and the batter will proceed to first base.

3. Pitchers must throw a pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the ball, or the umpire may call a ball.

4. Maximum break between innings of 2 minutes and 5 seconds. If a batter isn't in the box by 1:45, the umpire can call a strike. If the first pitch isn't thrown by 2:05, the umpire can call a ball.

5. Maximum of 2:30 for all pitching changes.

6. Teams are limited to a maximum of three mound visits per game. This doesn't include pitching changes and includes manager, coach and catcher mound visits.

The only one I could see taking effect, soon anyway, would be the intentional walk one, as it's always seemed a bit silly to make a guy throw four half-speed balls four feet outside.

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