Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Gary Sanchez rule

MLB on Monday announced new limits on mound visits, by players or coaches, in a effort to speed pace of play.

Just as the rules established to protect catchers and middle infielders from collisions quickly got nicknamed for the stars who "inspired" the rule (the Posey rule for catchers, the Utley rule at second base), this one should bear the name of Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez, who wore a path out to the mound during playoff games last fall, changing signs with every hitter and sometimes during at-bats.

That stagnant approach was almost certainly been more manager Joe Girardi than Sanchez. Girardi had his strong points as a manager, but his uptight, controlling persona was very football-like, and that is not a complement.

So -- six mound visits per game without a pitching change. This includes coaches and managers, catchers changing signs, shortstops coming in to offer their advice on throwing strikes. There'll be no pitch clock this season.

Another, less obvious, related change is supposedly stricter limits on communication between replay rooms and dugouts. This is intended to make it more difficult to relay stolen signs, which had been cited as a reason for all the mound visits. A better move, in my opinion, would be to ban the replay rooms. If a missed call isn't obvious to the naked eye, it shouldn't be appealed to New York anyway.

The players aren't overjoyed with the new rule and are even less happy with the notion of pitch and batter clocks. But if they continue to lollygag, dawdle and stall, that will -- and should -- change. Play ball, fellows.

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