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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Neyer: Baseball Unveils The “Sam Fuld Rule”

From the Associated Press (via ESPN.com):

Maybe this should be the Joe Maddon Rule.

A season after the Tampa Bay manager put outfielder Sam Fuld to the mound to warm up for the sole purpose of giving a reliever extra time in the bullpen, Major League Baseball closed the loophole.

MLB has amended Official Baseball Rule 3.05 regarding such shenanigans. The change will “prohibit a manager from sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game.”

Maddon does raise an interesting question about all this:

“How do they know the intentions are not to pitch him? How would you know that? You could easily leave him in there for one hitter if you had to. My concern would be you could still send out your previous inning’s pitcher to warm up and then pull him out of the game before the first batter. That’s still OK, correct?”

What if the Rays, instead of being up 8-1, were down 11-1? Would the umpires have simply assumed that Fuld wasn’t actually going to pitch in a game that was essentially lost? It seems to me the umpires can’t know a manager’s intention until the manager actually makes the move for the guy in the bullpen. At which point it’s too late to do anything about it.

So while the Sam Fuld Rule makes sense in theory, I don’t quite understand how it’s going to work in practice. And I’m not at all surprised that Maddon immediately spotted the problem.

Rule 3.05 isn’t the only change in the book this year…

Bats with a scooped end on the barrel can have an indentation of 1 1/4 inches, up from 1 inch. And the word “baseline” has been replaced in spots by “base path.”

Also, the process for appealing an official scorer’s ruling has been changed. In the past, a team’s public relations employee would often ask the scorer to review a call. Now, a player’s agent will work with the union to appeal, then there will be a process between MLB and the union to reach a decision.

Good start… now we just have to get back to spelling it “base ball.”

The District Attorney Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:14 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4066391)

Bats with a scooped end on the barrel can have an indentation of 1 1/4 inches, up from 1 inch.


I bet Billy Martin finds a way to exploit this at just the right time.

Now, a player’s agent will work with the union to appeal, then there will be a process between MLB and the union to reach a decision.


What is Zack Greinke supposed to do?
   2. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4066402)
I'm surprised this wasn't already a rule.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4066408)
Maddon does raise an interesting question about all this:

“How do they know the intentions are not to pitch him? How would you know that? You could easily leave him in there for one hitter if you had to. My concern would be you could still send out your previous inning’s pitcher to warm up and then pull him out of the game before the first batter. That’s still OK, correct?”

What if the Rays, instead of being up 8-1, were down 11-1? Would the umpires have simply assumed that Fuld wasn’t actually going to pitch in a game that was essentially lost? It seems to me the umpires can’t know a manager’s intention until the manager actually makes the move for the guy in the bullpen. At which point it’s too late to do anything about it.


I'm confused about the confusion. It seems to me the rule says that if you want to bring in a new pitcher to start an inning, he has to be ready to go when the inning starts. If the reliever's not, then the guy in the pitcher's slot (or on the mound) has to face at least one batter (or, until your guy is ready to go). Your intent is irrelevant because the ump won't allow you to move to the guy in the bullpen.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4066431)

I'm confused about the confusion. It seems to me the rule says that if you want to bring in a new pitcher to start an inning, he has to be ready to go when the inning starts. If the reliever's not, then the guy in the pitcher's slot (or on the mound) has to face at least one batter (or, until your guy is ready to go). Your intent is irrelevant because the ump won't allow you to move to the guy in the bullpen.


Agree. The rule should be whoever takes warmup pitches has to throw to at least one hitter, unless there is injury.
   5. Poulanc Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4066437)
If the reliever's not, then the guy in the pitcher's slot (or on the mound) has to face at least one batter (or, until your guy is ready to go).


Wouldn't this give an advantage to the team at-bat? Specifically, they could pinch hit, knowing that the opposing team couldn't go to their pen.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4066444)
Wouldn't this give an advantage to the team at-bat? Specifically, they could pinch hit, knowing that the opposing team couldn't go to their pen.


They already have the last call on these things anyway, so the advantage is theirs to begin with. This just sets the defensive counter move total at zero, rather than one.

   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4066457)
Agree. The rule should be whoever takes warmup pitches has to throw to at least one hitter, unless there is injury.
Fuld is feeling a little soreness in his shoulder. We're going to take him out to be safe.
   8. cooper7d7 Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4066458)
“prohibit a manager from sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game.”

OMG, a prohibition! Unless the batter is given a base or the manager is ejected or there is some consequence that is not spelled out ion the above excerpts, so what? Does the umpire slap the manager's wrist, walk to the mound, or give a loud hrumpf?
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4066469)
Loopholes in the rules are fun, anyway. I hope the NFL doesn't close the onside kick loophole in the postseason overtime rules before someone exploits it.

(EDIT: In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it seems fairly clear in the wording of the NFL's playoff overtime rules that if you attempt an onside kick on the opening kickoff of overtime, recover it and kick a field goal, the game is over and you've won, while if the other team recovers it and kicks a field goal, you still get a possession.)
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4066470)
Unless the batter is given a base or the manager is ejected or there is some consequence that is not spelled out ion the above excerpts, so what?


The manager is not allowed to change his pitcher. The guy has to face one batter, just as he would if he had come in from the bullpen and the opposing team countered with a pinch hitter.
   11. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: February 22, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4066471)
OMG, a prohibition! Unless the batter is given a base or the manager is ejected or there is some consequence that is not spelled out ion the above excerpts, so what? Does the umpire slap the manager's wrist, walk to the mound, or give a loud hrumpf?
The player has to pitch to a batter, unless injured.
   12. Something Other Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4066499)
Also, the process for appealing an official scorer’s ruling has been changed. In the past, a team’s public relations employee would often ask the scorer to review a call. Now, a player’s agent will work with the union to appeal, then there will be a process between MLB and the union to reach a decision.
I'm assuming this is satire.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4066501)
I'm confused as to why this had to be done. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the rule but the moment Fuld took the mound I think he should have been announced as the pitcher and thus required to pitch to a batter.

Does the umpire slap the manager's wrist, walk to the mound, or give a loud hrumpf?


I believe he is given a stern look as well.
   14. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4066510)
(EDIT: In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it seems fairly clear in the wording of the NFL's playoff overtime rules that if you attempt an onside kick on the opening kickoff of overtime, recover it and kick a field goal, the game is over and you've won, while if the other team recovers it and kicks a field goal, you still get a possession.)

Interesting - of course, you're giving them a short field to get a touchdown if you don't recover, and if you give up a touchdown, you lose anyway.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4066511)
I'm confused as to why this had to be done. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the rule but the moment Fuld took the mound I think he should have been announced as the pitcher and thus required to pitch to a batter.


I think the reason it needed to be spelled out is in case you want to replace the existing pitcher but haven't had time to get the reliever loose. This covers both the Sam Fulds and the Matt Moores.


   16. Ephus Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4066519)
Fuld had already been announced as the pitcher, because he pinch hit for the pitcher in the top of the inning (Interleague game played at Milwaukee). As a pinch hitter, he did not have to throw a pitch.
   17. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: February 22, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4066536)
(EDIT: In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it seems fairly clear in the wording of the NFL's playoff overtime rules that if you attempt an onside kick on the opening kickoff of overtime, recover it and kick a field goal, the game is over and you've won, while if the other team recovers it and kicks a field goal, you still get a possession.)


They know about it and have no issue with that. It means the teams wins on a FG but via an exciting play, and the league is just fine with that.
   18. DL from MN Posted: February 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4066561)
How many pitches does he have to throw to the batter? Would it be okay for him to throw 1 pitch and have the manager realize "this was a terrible idea" and go to his bullpen?
   19. KT's Pot Arb Posted: February 22, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4066570)
They should call it a balk anytime a relief pitcher doesn't pitch to at least one batter. In this case award first base. If he really is hurt, so sorry, but let's keep the games moving in a fair and impartial manner.

Edit: I'd prefer it be a balk if a relief pitcher doesn't pitch to two batters, but baseball loves LaRussinations despite the mind numbing boredom they cause for the fans.
   20. Don Malcolm Posted: February 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4066571)
Why couldn't Sammy just throw one pitch, grab his arm, clench his teeth in faux agony, which would then permit the next pitcher to come in and warm up as long as necessary?
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 22, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4066576)
Agree. The rule should be whoever takes warmup pitches has to throw to at least one hitter, unless there is injury.

I don't think that's the rule. At least I hope that's not the rule because the following should still be legal.

RHP starter has completed 6 innings. In the 7th, the opponents will have RHB, LHB, LHB due up. You get LHP up while you bat. You send RHP out for warmups with the "intent" that he will pitch to the RHB, then you intend to yank him. Opponents announce LHB pinch-hitter after warmups. The manager should be allowed to bring in his LHP to face the lefty even if the RHP is the one who warmed up.

A slight modification to what you said solves that problem -- if you send out a pitcher to warm up WHO HAS NOT YET FACED A BATTER then he must face at least one batter. However that does leave open the possibility of sending your previous pitcher out there to warm up because you don't have a reliever ready (say you just hit a go-ahead HR and now want to get your closer in).

I think you could get around all of that by requiring the batting team to announce a lead-off pinch-hitter prior to the pitching team sending a guy out to warm up. Then you could keep the "if he warms up, he's got to pitch to one batter" rule even in the scenario above.

How good was Fuld's acting anyway? Did he warm up like he was a real pitcher or was he just doing OF throws or throwing eephus pitches?
   22. Bruce Markusen Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4066582)
If a "pitcher" claims injury, then make it mandatory that he have to sit out the next game (or the next three games) or whatever is necessary to remove the incentive to make up an injury.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4066588)
If a "pitcher" claims injury, then make it mandatory that he have to sit out the next game (or the next three games) or whatever is necessary to remove the incentive to make up an injury.


I concur. That seems like a very simple rule that needed to be in place before the Sam Fuld situation, at least in situations where a reliever was not ready to come into the game (and thus required extra pitches).

   24. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4066600)
A new pitcher has always gotten unlimited warmup pitches if the last one was injured or ejected.
   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 22, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4066601)
A new pitcher has always gotten unlimited warmup pitches if the last one was injured or ejected.

So it's even easier. Send in Fuld to pitch, have him throw his first couple pitches at the first base umpire's head, and bingo! Ejection.
   26. Ron J Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4066626)
#25 Reminds me of an old rule quirk I've always found amusing.

From the 1857 rule book:

Section 30. Gambling/Substitute. No person engaged in a match,either as umpire, referee, or player, shall be directly or indirectly interested in any bet upon the game.

Since this is before organized leagues the only penalty was removal from the game. There's a certain charm to the manager bringing a bookie to the mound when he wants to make a pitching change. No substitutions permitted in those days without the consent of the other team except for removal on discovery of a wager. (No, you didn't have to play a man down. The rule section is called Gambling/Substitute after all)
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 22, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4066641)
A new pitcher has always gotten unlimited warmup pitches if the last one was injured or ejected.


Not true. He gets the number of pitches that the umpire-in-chief determines that he requires to be properly warmed up.

-- MWE
   28. Eddo Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4066652)
(EDIT: In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it seems fairly clear in the wording of the NFL's playoff overtime rules that if you attempt an onside kick on the opening kickoff of overtime, recover it and kick a field goal, the game is over and you've won, while if the other team recovers it and kicks a field goal, you still get a possession.)

They know about it and have no issue with that. It means the teams wins on a FG but via an exciting play, and the league is just fine with that.

Exactly. The team that is lined up to receive the opening kickoff has had their chance at possession. It makes perfect sense, and is really no different than if they had received a deep kickoff and then fumbled it.
   29. Joe Kehoskie Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4066653)
I'm confused as to why this had to be done. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the rule but the moment Fuld took the mound I think he should have been announced as the pitcher and thus required to pitch to a batter.

I thought the same thing when I read this article last night.

I think the reason it needed to be spelled out is in case you want to replace the existing pitcher but haven't had time to get the reliever loose. This covers both the Sam Fulds and the Matt Moores.

But does it? Per the story, Maddon seems to be under the impression a pitcher who was already in the game (i.e., has faced at least one batter) could be sent out for warmups and then replaced.

Fuld had already been announced as the pitcher, because he pinch hit for the pitcher in the top of the inning (Interleague game played at Milwaukee). As a pinch hitter, he did not have to throw a pitch.

He didn't have to throw a pitch when he was simply the PH, but once he took the mound, he became the P.* I don't understand why the one-batter rule didn't apply already, except perhaps if a PH was sent up for that inning's leadoff hitter. (But even with a PH, the one-batter rule still seems controlling. A PH can void the two-trips rule, but I don't believe it moots the one-batter rule.)

(* That said, Fuld's BB-Ref page doesn't show any appearances as a P, so this is really odd. At minimum, it seems like the Larry Yount situation — i.e., it seems like Fuld should have been credited with a P appearance despite not throwing a single pitch to a batter.)
   30. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM (#4066667)
Who cares? If Joe Madden wants to do this, and then take out Fuld before a pitch is thrown, who cares? Because it takes the game an extra three minutes to play? How many times a year is this really going to come up, anyway?
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4066683)
But does it? Per the story, Maddon seems to be under the impression a pitcher who was already in the game (i.e., has faced at least one batter) could be sent out for warmups and then replaced.


I don't know why he'd be under that impression, because it seems pretty clear to me. The rule prohibits a manager from "sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game.” There's nothing indicating that current pitcher had to just enter the game.

Now, I don't know how the situation is covered that Walt mentions, if the opposing manager announces a pinch hitter for the leadoff batter. In that case, it can certainly be interpreted that the manager intended to have his pitcher throw, but circumstances changed and he is allowed to bring in a reliever. However, MLB could very well instruct its umpires that the pitcher who is announced as the starter of an inning must face a batter (in the same way a reliever coming into the game must), and that the batting team can get the last chance to respond with a move.

Who cares? If Joe Madden wants to do this, and then take out Fuld before a pitch is thrown, who cares? Because it takes the game an extra three minutes to play? How many times a year is this really going to come up, anyway?


I sure do. I'm not terribly interested in projections or MLEs, but I love me some rulebook chatter. And I think this was a good call.

But like Something Other, I think the new rule covering official scorer protests is a headscratcher.

   32. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4066688)
is there some way to ban OOGYs? They seem like more of a problem than this one-time gimmick by Maddon.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:05 AM (#4066746)
#29 -- I assume it depends on the definition of "takes the mound." Time is out between innings. It's not like the pitcher is required to warm up and I assume it's also perfectly legal for, say, the 2B to stand there playing catch with the C if he wants. I assume nobody has taken the mound yet. Once the ump calls "time in" again, there better be a pitcher on the mound and that's the guy who "took the mound" and has to face a batter. I assume Maddon pulled Fuld before that point so Fuld never "took the mound."

However the rule is written, it obviously needs to allow you to PH for your pitcher but replace the PH before he pitches to a batter.

At a less abstract level, I don't have any idea when an umpire motions to the scorer's box to say "this guy is the new pitcher." I assume that is the practical definition of "took the mound" and I assume Maddon yanked Fuld before that happened.

I suppose part of the "problem" here is that many lineup changes are made without the manager having to come out and explicitly inform the umpire of the change (PHs, new pitcher warming up between innings). So another possible rule would be to require the manager to come out and tell the ump for every one of these changes -- but that will slow things down (and allow the reliever some time to warm up!) -- and require him to come out at the end of his team's at-bats if he plans to change pitchers between innings or replace the PH.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 23, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4066760)
He didn't have to throw a pitch when he was simply the PH, but once he took the mound, he became the P.* I don't understand why the one-batter rule didn't apply already, except perhaps if a PH was sent up for that inning's leadoff hitter. (But even with a PH, the one-batter rule still seems controlling. A PH can void the two-trips rule, but I don't believe it moots the one-batter rule.)

(* That said, Fuld's BB-Ref page doesn't show any appearances as a P, so this is really odd. At minimum, it seems like the Larry Yount situation — i.e., it seems like Fuld should have been credited with a P appearance despite not throwing a single pitch to a batter.).


The umpires screwed up. Under the old rules, Fuld should have been required to pitch to one batter.

All this rule does is ensure that whomever takes the mound, whether a Fuld-like substance, the game's starting pitcher or the relief pitcher in the game at the moment - must pitch to one batter.* Or looked at more accurately, if a team wants to bring in a reliever to start an inning, that reliever must be ready when the ump gives the signal. If he's not, the current pitcher (or, possibly, anyone from the defensive nine) must face one batter before a relief pitcher can be summoned from the pen.

* Though, as noted, I'm not sure how the rule covers the pitcher taking the hill to start the inning followed by an immediate pinch-hitting announcement for the leadoff hitter.

   35. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 23, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4066812)
In that case, it can certainly be interpreted that the manager intended to have his pitcher throw, but circumstances changed and he is allowed to bring in a reliever. However, MLB could very well instruct its umpires that the pitcher who is announced as the starter of an inning must face a batter (in the same way a reliever coming into the game must), and that the batting team can get the last chance to respond with a move.


I don't like this interpretation of the new rule. It really would be a pretty fundamental change in how managers are allowed to manage. Yes, the offense has always gotten the last change, but this would take away the defense's right to counter the first move in cases where the pitcher was already in the game. And cases where it's a new pitcher are covered under the old rule, as SoSH notes:

The umpires screwed up. Under the old rules, Fuld should have been required to pitch to one batter.


So Neyer screwed up too. There's no reason to call it the 'Sam Fuld rule'.
   36. Bug Selig Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4066937)
A slight modification to what you said solves that problem -- if you send out a pitcher to warm up WHO HAS NOT YET FACED A BATTER then he must face at least one batter.


Or something that covers that a ptcher who warms up has to face the scheduled hitter - a pinch-hitter opens the door to change pitchers.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4066942)
Are we certain that a pinch hitter doesn't already create an exception to the rule that DSM suggests in #36?

What the rule is designed to stop is the situation where the Yankees get a 2 out grand slam in the bottom of the 8th to make a 1-4 deficit a 5-4 lead. They send Robertson (who pitched the 8th) back to the mound to take his warmups then as Rajai Davis steps in summon Mariano Rivera. With the new rule either Rivera has to come in for the 9th inning warmups or Robertson has to face Davis.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: February 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4066960)
Are we certain that a pinch hitter doesn't already create an exception to the rule that DSM suggests in #36?


No, we're not. Though, honestly, I'm not sure when the team at bat needs to announce a pinch-hitter for the leadoff hitter.


What the rule is designed to stop is the situation where the Yankees get a 2 out grand slam in the bottom of the 8th to make a 1-4 deficit a 5-4 lead. They send Robertson (who pitched the 8th) back to the mound to take his warmups then as Rajai Davis steps in summon Mariano Rivera. With the new rule either Rivera has to come in for the 9th inning warmups or Robertson has to face Davis.


That's precisely it. It's an entirely sensible decision by MLB. The reliever's either ready to throw when the game comes back from commercial break, or you use the guy you last had in the pitcher's slot (or, I suppose, anyone in the game at the moment). It's the manager's job to have a pitcher available when the game is supposed to start, and if his reliever isn't ready, you find someone else to throw to the first batter.
   39. BDC Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4066979)
Thinking this over this morning, I reckon that "intention" is the real problem in the wording, if intention is indeed mentioned there. All Maddon ever has to do is let Fuld face one batter in one game, and then forever after he can be credited with an intention to do it again. (That's Maddon's point, of course.) But if the rule is written to exclude intention in any of the many ways mentioned in the last several posts, no problem.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: February 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4066996)
Thinking this over this morning, I reckon that "intention" is the real problem in the wording, if intention is indeed mentioned there. All Maddon ever has to do is let Fuld face one batter in one game, and then forever after he can be credited with an intention to do it again. (That's Maddon's point, of course.) But if the rule is written to exclude intention in any of the many ways mentioned in the last several posts, no problem.


I wonder if intention is being used specifically to exclude the PH situation. Where in that case, the manager did intend to use that pitcher, but subsequent events changed how he wanted to deploy his resources.
   41. Don Malcolm Posted: February 23, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4067174)
So Neyer screwed up too. There's no reason to call it the 'Sam Fuld rule'.


--<^^>--

(the international symbol for biting one's tongue...)

But that (un)said, there really ought to be something called the "Sam Fuld Rule."

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