Major League Baseball got this one right. Looking to increase the speed of the game, MLB introduces three new rules changes on Friday that will do just that. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the league will announce the following changes to the rule book:
Managers must challenge replays from dugout.
Batters must keep one foot in box unless an established exception occurs.
Play to resume promptly once broadcast returns from commercial break.
On the first rule, this was a huge problem for baseball. Managers would go out and "argue" with umpires to stall as someone from the dugout got word to see if they should challenge the call. This process would take forever. It's unclear, though, if managers will argue then just head back to the dugout to argue a call. What should be done is once a manager goes out to argue, the ability to challenge is over.
I am a huge fan of the second rule, although former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra would hate it. Batters must keep one foot in the batters box at all time. However, there is an exception when foul balls, foul tips, time granted by the umpire and wild pitches occurs. It's unclear what the punishment will be if players do not follow this rule.
Again, the third rule is fantastic as well. There are at least 16 commercial breaks in a MLB game, and that doesn't include pitching changes. When the broadcast comes back on air, I'd estimate it takes around 30 seconds for a pitch to be thrown. But it remains to be seen when baseball says "play to resume promptly."
All in all, these rules will definitely help speed up the game and it doesn't change the game in anyway. But the biggest question right now is how umpires will enforce the rules and what the punishments will be for not following them. Who knows, maybe I won't have to watch anymore four-hour Red Sox-Yankees game.