When the new pace-of-play rules were released the other day it was revealed that the enforcement of them would be handled with fines, not automatic called balls or strikes. Yesterday Jayson Stark elaborated on how that will all work and how Major League Baseball is instructing umpires to deal with it all, practically speaking.
Specifically, Stark says, “umpires will be instructed not to go out of their way to indicate that a player has committed a violation. Instead, they would be told just to mark down the infraction on their card, much the way they would if there was an equipment violation.” If a player constantly takes too much time or becomes a problem an umpire will be given leeway to deal with it differently. It’s unclear how, exactly, that will be done, but Stark says that the idea will still be to handle the enforcement of the new rules off-the-field, via fines and lectures and the like, while on-field confrontations are to be avoided.
All of which is good because the last thing we want is for anything to encourage umpires to confront players. They do enough of that already over balls and strikes.
Of course, this will likely mean that scenes like this one will never happen again. Which is . . . OK, it’s good that these scenes won’t happen, but man this is kinda fun to watch with a few decades of space between then and now: