OK, so the new baseball rules aren't entirely like the old ones. But ... they're really not that different either.
For instance, a manager or coach now has 30 seconds to go out to the mound and talk to his pitcher. Or else? The umpire will come out to the mound and break up the convention. Well, I've never seen that before!
Then you've got the new rules about slides. A runner has to be able to touch and hold onto the bag in order to have a legal slide. The rule looks like this:
The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire's judgment play.
No, wait, that was the old rule. Well, I'm glad we've got that cleared up. Really though, Baseball has tried to better codify rules that will protect players, so that's a good thing. We should all be able to agree that while playing hard is an important part of the game, playing in a way that can intentionally hurt your opponent and possibly alter the season is not a good thing.
There is one change that's worth noting: the end of the neighborhood play. Middle infielders actually have to touch the bag to get the out rather than just hanging out nearby.
If the new rules about base running are actually followed -- the near-series-changing takeout slide during the playoffs last year would have been illegal under both old rules and new -- then it makes sense.
In one sense, Baseball's saying: Hey, since you're safer now, you actually have to touch the bag. Really though, it's the admission that with replay being the frequent decider for close plays at second, you have to go with the video evidence rather than ask for a judgement decision removed from the actual play.
In the end, what will matter more than changing the rules is just having the umpire crews implement them uniformly. Players and managers need to know what to expect, it shouldn't change from one crew to the next. When that is achieved, baseball will be better off.
The Tigers named some spring training starting pitchers!
Tigers rotation: Kevin Ziomek vs. FL Southern on Monday, Matt Boyd vs. PIT Tuesday, then Buck Farmer and Mike Pelfrey for split squad Wed.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) February 25, 2016
And caught some baseballs!
But Anibal Sanchez is experiencing arm pain
Well, crap. The Tigers say they're not concerned, but Sanchez's triceps is acting up and he's taking a few days off of throwing to see how it feels.
Cam Gibson is just like his dad
There was an interesting feature in the Detroit News on Tigers prospect Cam Gibson. Lynn Henning wrote that just listening to Cam talk, you know he's a chip off the old block, Kirk's son. But not only that, there's shades of his mother, JoAnn, too.
"My dad's so analytical," Cam said, "where my mom will say, ‘Just play, sweetie, like I'm dropping you off at Little League. Let your hair fly and have fun.'
"I've got both sides coming at me"
MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Tigers prospects list actually makes sense
Around the Central
And finally ... Minor League Baseball is fun!
The Frisco RoughRiders have a lazy river!
There's always money in Savannah