All baseball fans have heard of the new “Three Batter Minimum” rule, but most do not understand how it will truly impact the game.
What is the ‘Three Batter Minimum’ rule, and how does it affect managers and pitchers?
The ‘Three Batter Minimum’ rule was directly targeted to increase the pace of play. Increasingly in today’s fast paced world, slow games have become a turn off to fans.
The rule states, “pitchers have to face a minimum of three batters before they are allowed to exit the game”.
In recent years, from the fan’s perspective, we have seen relief pitchers utilized in games for a situation such as ‘lefty on lefty’ or ‘righty on righty’ pitcher-hitter matchup. This process is very time consuming as each pitcher has to make the trek from the bullpen and then take their warm up pitches.
Managers were able to utilize their bullpen weapons more freely and were allowed to replace and sub in any pitcher, even after one pitch. Now, they will have to think like chess players, many steps ahead.
Will this rule have a positive or negative impact on the game?
There are two correct answers to this question: yes and no.
The rule will affect the game in a positive manner by increasing pace of play but, on the downside, will change the strategy of the game.
As the years have gone by, statistics have shown that Major League baseball games have steadily increased in time of play.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has established multiple minor rules to help get this graph back on track so the game will be more entertaining for the active fan, but this rule has received pushback by fans, managers and even executives of teams.
They are very traditional in their mindsets and also want to maintain all their options with regard to bringing in specific pitchers; they feel there is no need to change the game.
As a passionate fan and player of the game, I strongly believe that managers should be able to make any decision they want; whether it be substitution, challenges or anything else without a seemingly arbitrary rule stopping them.
This rule is certainly targeting “L.O.O.G.Y.’ relief pitchers.
If you are unfamiliar of what this acronym stands for; Lefty Only One Out Guy. Keywords; One out guy! These kinds of relief pitchers jobs are to enter the game with an advantage over a hitter even if it’s for only one batter and then leave.
It’s safe to say, Rob Manfred has to go back to the drawing board to figure out an alternative way to increase pace of play which will satisfy both the traditionalists and the today’s short-attention fans.
Photo: John Minchillo / AP