In a move that’s long overdue, a two minute limit has been imposed on the Replay Officials back at MLB’s New York Headquarters, though some exceptions are permitted.
Frankly, I believe a strong argument can be made for getting reviews down to no more than 90 seconds or leaving the call on the field to stand. Inordinately long reviews, as opposed to worrying about the time it takes for a four-pitch intentional walk are what is impacting the pace and flow of the game.
Here are some other changes for this season. First, there will be a 30-second limit for a manager to decide whether to challenge a play.
Next, when a manager has used all his challenges the Umpire Crew Chief can now invoke his own replay review for non-home run calls but only from the eighth inning on, rather than the seventh.
Baseball implemented an addition to Rule 5.07 that says a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch. An amendment to Rule 5.03 provides new limits on where base coaches must stand prior to each pitch.
You can find the official baseball rules on MLB’s web site, though as of this writing the updates rubrics are not yet posted.
Now, some other baseball news and notes of particular interest to Red Sox fans:
- Sox manager John Farrell is taking his “usual sweet time,” with a formal announcement writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, but it seems clear that Pablo Sandoval will be Boston’s Opening Day third baseman. With 13 games into the Spring season, Panda held on to a solid .333 AVG, second on the club in hits only to Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, plus he’s been good defensively.
- Whatever he’s doing, it doesn’t seem to be working. That’s the inescapable conclusion after watching Henry Owens flounder again this spring. That’s now 16 baserunners and seven earned runs allowed in five innings. “It’s all about repetition,” Owens told Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “I just have to keep facing hitters and getting on the mound,” Owens says. Hopefully those repetitions will come anywhere but at Fenway Park.
- Big shoes: The Red Sox are considering batting Benintendi third, similar to the responsibilities of Fred Lynn in his 1975 rookie season reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
- Squeezing efficiency and productivity out of every conceivable part of an operation is the mark of many successful businesses. The Sox have been unabashed in their efforts to capitalize on every competitive advantage they can muster. The team’s latest experiment is nap time at Fenway, not in the Kids Club, but in the clubhouse.
- For the first time since 1950 you won’t hear Vin Scully calling baseball games this summer. That’s a shame, because no one, perhaps in the history of the game, has done it as well. Scully ended his 67-year career with the Dodgers after last season. Which team has the longest tenured announcer now? Well, it’s the Dodgers. Jaime Jarrin, their Spanish-language voice on the radio has been with the club almost as long, starting in 1958. Denny Matthews, who started with the Royals in 1969, is next in seniority.
- Scully’s departure last season caught the lion’s share of press attention, and rightly so. But at the same time it overshadowed the departure of Dick Enburg, yet another venerable baseball voice. Enburg finished his long career in sports journalism calling games for the Padres. His retirement cleared the way for former Red Sox play-by-plan man Don Orsillo to become San Diego’s primary announcer starting this season.