MLB announces new slide rule and pace-of-game changes
(The Sports Xchange) - Rolling slides to break up double plays will not be permitted starting with the 2016 season according to new regulations adopted on Thursday by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players' Association.
The World Umpires Association also approved the banishment of so-called block slides after New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada suffered a broken leg on a takeout at second base in last year's playoffs by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley.
MLB and the players' union also signed off on two new pace of play initiatives designed to help speed up the game.
According to the new sliding rules, a runner is required to make a "bona fide" attempt or an umpire can call the runner and the batter out.
"A runner will be specifically prohibited from changing his pathway to the base or utilizing a "roll block" for the purpose of initiating contact with the fielder," the new rule states.
Potential violations will be subject to instant replay review, as will "neighborhood play" calls, which previously were exempted from replay review.
A bona-fide slide occurs when a makes contact with the ground ahead of the base, is in position to reach the base with his hand or foot and attempts to remain on the base without changing his path to initiate contact with a fielder.
The pace of play program is being expanded from last year to include timed 30-second visits to the mound by managers and coaches and a reduction by 20 seconds of broadcast breaks between innings.
MLB said last year's pace of game directives, which included the batter's box rule and decreased break time between innings and pitching changes, resulted in the average length of games falling to 2:56:14 from 3:02:21.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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