How to forfeit a game

Last night, the Rochester Red Wings were shellacked by the Buffalo Bisons, 20-3. As the game dragged on in its last innings and the Red Wings turned to a position player to pitch, Wings’ announcer Josh Whetzel wondered if maybe baseball should have a mercy rule or maybe a way to forfeit when things get too ugly.

Well, there is one way to forfeit. Sort of.

Take a look at the MLB rulebook. Now, head down to pages 85 and 86, the part on unsportsmanlike conduct. Make note of rule 6.04(a)(4), which says that no one can “Make intentional contact with the umpire in any manner.”

You’ve doubtless seen this rule in action before: a manager or player is arguing with an umpire after a bad call, and touches them. They are then usually immediately ejected.

So, in theory, you could have your players line up in a row and start touching the umpire until enough players are ejected that there aren’t enough to continue, thus ending the game.

Of course, there are other easier ways to forfeit (see rule 7.03). You can just refuse to come out and continue playing, for example. Or you could continually break rules. Or the thing that, if properly enforced, would probably lead to a wave of forfeits, rule 7.03(a)(2):

Employs tactics palpably designed to delay or shorten the
game;

Yeah, like that will ever be enforced…

Looking at the “Pace of Game” rules that will be experimented in the AFL

The Arizona Fall League will, this year, be a test bed for some possible rule changes to speed up the pace of play in baseball. It is, of course, an important issue, and I’m glad to see that already some possible changes will be tested. So, let’s take a look at what we’ve got here:

 

Batter’s Box Rule: The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout his at-bat, unless one of a series of established exceptions occurs, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate. (Exceptions include a foul ball or a foul tip; a pitch forcing the batter out of the batter’s box; “time” being requested and granted; a wild pitch or a passed ball; and several others.)

 

A fine rule to start with. A chunk of the killed time these days is because batters step out to take some practice swings or adjust some equipment after nearly every pitch. So, on the surface, forcing hitters to stay in the box is good. However, there are some possible flaws, mainly in the fact there are a ton of exceptions, with the biggest one being the fact the batter can still call “time”. Yes, sometimes when a batter calls time it is for a good reason, but other times it is just so that they can do the aforementioned practice swings or adjustments. So, ultimately, this rule will only help if umpires cut down on unnecessary calls of “time”, otherwise the problem will remain, just in a different form.

(MORE AFTER THE JUMP)

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