A series of major changes to the Official Baseball Rules by the Playing Rules Committee were announced today for the 2007 season.
To place in context the importance of these changes, the Rules Committee has not made any changes since the Strike Zone was redefined in 1996.
Some key changes are:
- The Rules had provided that a game that is called with the score tied in the bottom of the fifth inning or later is a tie game, to be replayed in its entirety, though player statistics count. In accordance with a unanimous recommendation from the Major League General Managers at their 2005 meetings, the Rule has been changed so that a tied regulation game that is stopped now will be suspended and resumed before the next scheduled game between the same two clubs on the same grounds (or, before the next scheduled game at the visiting club's grounds, if no more games remain at the original club's home park); only if no scheduled games remain between the two clubs would the game be a called, tie game, in which case it would be replayed in its entirety only if necessary to affect a playoff spot.
- The Playing Rules Committee also extensively revised Official Baseball Rule 10, which concerns official scorers and scoring rules, acting upon recommendations of an ad hoc advisory committee comprised of official scorers, Club personnel and Major League Baseball staff. Among the changes relating to official scoring are:
- a new definition of "ordinary effort" to guide scorers in making determinations on hits, errors and other rulings;
- the addition of many casebook comments to guide official scorers;
- the codification of an appeal process of official scorer decisions; and,
- a reorganization of certain scoring rules.
Other changes include:
- 1.15(a)The pitcher’s glove may not, exclusive of piping, be white, gray, nor, in the judgment of an umpire, distracting in any manner.
- 1.15 (c) The umpire-in-chief shall cause a glove that violates Rules 1.15(a) or 1.15(b) to be removed from the game, either on his own initiative, at the recommendation of another umpire or upon complaint of the opposing manager that the umpire-in-chief agrees has merit.
- 3.01 (c) (c) Receive from the home club a supply of regulation baseballs, the number and make to be certified to the home club by the league president. The umpire shall inspect the baseballs and ensure they are regulation baseballs and that they are properly rubbed so that the gloss is removed. The umpire shall be the sole judge of the fitness of the balls to be used in the game;
- Rule 3.02 has been amended to provide an automatic 10-game suspension for any player who intentionally defaces the ball.
- Rule 6.06(d) Comment: A batter shall be deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if he brings such a bat into the batter’s box.
A complete list of Official Rule changes for 2007 (PDF - 14pgs.)
The Official Playing Rules Committee consists of the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Padres, Sandy Alderson, who serves as Chair of the Committee; Bob Beban, the President and General Manager of the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, a 19-year Major League veteran; John McHale, Jr., MLB's Executive Vice President of Administration; Terry Ryan, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota Twins; John Schuerholz, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Atlanta Braves; Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations; Bill Stoneman, the Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Umpire Larry Young, who has over 22 years of experience at the Major League level.