MLB Throws Teams a Curveball with New Mound Rule
By James Kwon 3/6/2018
Baseball is the only major sport without a clock. But not keeping time is costing time, with game-times averaging over three hours, MLB is now doing something about it.
In the past few years, visits to mound have become as routine as a ground-out to second base. It’s dead time for the fans and a huge reason games are running long. So Major League Baseball has put new rules in place, hoping it will move the game along.
Each team is now only allowed six mound visits a game, with the exception of when the manager comes out to change pitchers. Trips by the pitching coach, or when a catcher or infielder trots to the mound during the inning will all count as visits.
For a lot of teams, the rule change will affect how information is shared with the pitcher. This has a particular impact on catchers and how they are able communicate. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph worries about the new rule, but he’s already planning a new approach.
“I hope there’s not a game decided on that (mound visits) but there’s certain things that you can do to prevent that. Having to prevent making different trips. If you think a team is stealing your signs you just meet before the game and have multiple signs ready so you can just shout out, ‘hey we’re going to switch to the second set here.’ But yeah it’s going to be a change for a lot of players.”
Catchers will bear the brunt of this rule and will be the ones who have to make the biggest adjustment. Teams are spending time in spring training getting used to it, but managers and coaches will need to be on their toes too, to make sure they don’t exceed the six-visit limit.