PHOENIX — Major League Baseball and the Players Union jointly announced a series of rules tweaks that will be implemented for the 2017 season, most having to do with the pace of play.
But one new change prohibits “the use of any markers on the field that could create a tangible reference system for fielders,” something that caused a bit of a kerfuffle when the Dodgers were in New York last May to play the Mets.
The Dodgers used lasers to coordinate positioning for their outfielders, placing small markers on the field to denote certain distances or preferred spots.
"I don't think that really affects us. The commissioner feels it's good for baseball, and we support it. There won't be any lasers during a game anymore,” manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. "In every outfield, guys make marks in the field where they want to position. We just can't put that red or white dot out there.”
Roberts did note with a smile that players were still allowed to make marks in the field with their cleats.
But what about all those lasers the Dodgers used last year?
“I think we'll put them on eBay, maybe Craigslist,” Roberts joked.
Here are the rest of the rule changes jointly agreed upon for 2017:
- The no-pitch intentional walk, allowing the manager to signal to the home plate umpire the intention to award first base to the batter
- 30 seconds for a manager to decide to invoke a replay review
- If a team is out of challenges, the crew chief can invoke a replay for a non-home-run beginning in the eighth inning (one inning later than before)
- A 2-minute “guideline” for all replay reviews, though this one also lists there are “various exceptions.”
- Essentially the Carter Capps rule: “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. If there is at least one runner on base, then such an action will be called as a balk under Rule 6.02(a). If the bases are unoccupied, then it will be considered an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).”
- Base coaches are required to remain behind the coaching box lines before each pitch, though they can leave the box once a ball is in play, as long as they don’t interfere with the runners.