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MLB adopts the “Maddon Rule” to combat relief pitcher shenanigans

Feb 22, 2012, 9:51 AM EDT

joe-maddon-rays Reuters

Remember last June when Joe Maddon had Sam Fuld warm up as a relief pitcher for the sole purpose of giving his real reliever, Cesar Ramos, more time to get loose?  And how he admitted that he lied to the umps about Fuld having an injury so as not to run afoul of the rules which require relief pitchers to face a batter before being pulled?  Yeah, MLB has changed the rules to combat that kind of nonsense:

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.”

It’s more of a refinement than an actual rule change, I suppose. Going more specifically at the intent than the previous version of the rule which dealt simply with whether a reliever had faced anyone.  Which is a good thing, because even if what Maddon did wasn’t a capital crime, that kind of gamesmanship is just kinda lame.

Other rule changes: hitters can now use bats with scoops on the end of them as deep as 1 1/4 inches, up from 1 inch. I’d be curious to know what inspired that. Probably intense lobbying from the woodworking industry. Also: the word “baseline” has been replaced with the word “base path” in several places. That was probably the result of intense lobbying from the paper industry. That extra space will amount to more paper usage over time, you know, and that means money to Big Paper.

  1. sportsdrenched.com - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Since being beat down by Big Digital Reader, Big Paper needs to get over some how.

  2. rooney24 - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    I am guessing the “base path” has more to do with either the fact that there are not lines between bases, except on the foul lines –OR– the fact that the base path isn’t always a straight line between the bases, for example if the player is rounding the base.

    The only bad thing about that is that it may leave more up to the judgement of the umpires. If we have learned anything from the strike zone, leaving anything up to be decided individually by each umpire leads to wild inconsistency in interpretations.

    • yankeesgameday - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM

      Umpires regard the base path, or base line, like the supreme court ruling on pornography: they can’t define it, but they know it when they see it.

  3. alleagles20 - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I recall Girardi doing this a number of times last year as well. He would send out the reliever, or starter, for the next inning then make a pitching change before he even threw a pitch. And it definitely was not because a pinch hitter was announced.

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