You’ve heard about no more shift, the pitch clock, etc. One of the weirdest (IMO) is the pitching disengagement rule. A disengagement is when a pitcher steps off the rubber. A pickoff throw is a disengagement. So is stepping off the rubber to gather his thoughts.
Jayson Stark has an interesting article in The Athletic today about all of the new rules.
Here is an excerpt about the disengagement rule.
After two “disengagements,” a pitcher can no longer throw over to first base — or any base — unless he then picks off the runner. If the runner isn’t out, it’s a balk. And that is going to dramatically alter pitching, base-stealing and the art of controlling the running game.
Managers, coaches and front offices report that they’ve tried to get their pitchers thinking about this for weeks now. But good luck to them. Think about veteran pitchers, who have spent all their lives stepping off every time they had an issue with a catcher or just needed to hit the reset button. Now there are real-life consequences for doing that. And that’s a huge deal.
That’s not merely a habit. That’s behavior that has been branded into their brain cells for so long, how can it possibly be deprogrammed in one or two trips to the mound — or 12?
So that’s a fun game you and your friends can play if you’re hanging out at any spring training games. Start a pool on how many times your favorite pitcher steps off and then shakes his head because he just frigging forgot … again. Sounds like an enjoyable beverage-consuming game to me.