NCAA recommends Baseball rule changes for 2019

Including 20-second pitch clock and greater use of replay.

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Now if the umpires will just enforce the clock. I saw several times when it was ignored last year.

One interesting thing about the proposal is that the clock will apply even with runners on base.

'The following plays will be reviewable only by a coach’s challenge or at the crew chief’s discretion beginning in the last two innings of regulation and extra innings:

g. Force and tag-play calls at any base."

Only in the last two innings? What a crock! Some of the key plays in baseball happen throughout the game, not just the last two innings. I understand the need to speed up the pace of the game, but an umpire needs to be able to check a safe-out call throughout the game. I’m not sure if I’m reading this right or not, but I assume the coach can challenge at any time, but only the crew chief can check in the final two innings or extras. But I still think every play should be reviewable if it so warrants it.

Other than the clock, there are other changes coming that i consider somewhat significant:

  1. Pitchers will not be allowed to fake a throw to third base and then throw to first. A balk will be called on these kinds of pick-off attempts

  2. Pitchers will no longer be required to throw four pitches on intentional walks. Instead, the defensive team can inform the umpire that it is walking the hitter.

  3. Teams will be limited to six defensive conferences on the mound per game. Base runners will not be allowed to leave the bases they are occupying during a defensive conference.

I’m in favor of the first and third, but kind of hate to see the old-fashioned intentional walk shelved. I’ve seen some wild plays over the years during that “routine” play.

I really don’t have a problem with that; in theory, if you didn’t have that rule, every single play could be reviewed if a coach wanted to. I believe these are the same rules the SEC used this past season, and I don’t recall there being any problems due to this. Calls on the bases are controversial - occasionally. But with 2 coaches challenges and unlimited reviews (discretionary) in the final innings, that seems to be enough. And DVH has said more than once he’s completely satisfied with the way the SEC used review this year.

I agree if this is the way the SEC used it, then I’m fine. But my first reading of it sounds as if there is no reviewable play until the last two innings and extras. Upon further review, it’s only the umpires who are limited to the last two innings. That’s probably OK, but my first read was that it was all just allowed in last two innings. My bad.

I like forcing the pitcher to throw the ball on intentional walks, too. I have no problem changing the rule on the fake throw to third. Not sure I see a reason to make infielders stay on their base during a mound conference. Does their presence slow the game? I doubt it. As for limiting a team to 6 defensive conferences per game, does that apply to pitching changes or just walks to the mound? If it applies to pitching changes, I have a problem with it. If it’s merely going to the mound without changing pitchers, it’s probably a reasonable way to shorten the games.