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MiLB Rule Changes: Pioneer League Installs New Rules

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In the latest MiLB rule changes, the Pioneer League will have a new set of rules that will be implemented for the 2021 MiLB season. Like the Atlantic League, the Pioneer League has partnered with MLB to try out new rules that we might see one in a day in the big leagues.

MiLB Rule Changes: Exciting Times Ahead

The Pioneer League has some interesting rules that might attract more fans at the big league level. MLB has been actively trying to come up with ways to attract more fans and, at times, speed up the game. These new rules will have a new feel to the game, but this new feel has both the players and the fans in mind.

Pitching is often the most taxing of all the positions in baseball. Often, teams will have to resort to position players to come in pitch because the bullpen has been exhausted, or there is not enough depth due to injuries. Either way, pitching plays a vital role, especially when the game goes into extra innings. To eliminate this, the Pioneer League will do away with the extra innings this season. That’s right, no more extra-inning free baseball. Instead, there will be a “Knock Out” rule.

  • The “Knock Out” round will take the place of the extra innings by having both teams go head-to-head in a “sudden death” home run duel. Each team will designate a hitter that will receive five pitches, and the outcome of the game will be determined by how many home runs a player hits. If both players end up tying, the team will designate a second player, and the “Knock Out” round will continue until there is a winner.
  • Next is the “Designated Pinch Hitter” rule. This rule will allow a player who has not entered the game to pinch-hit for a player that is currently in the game. Upon completion of the inning, the current player will be allowed to return to the game at their original position when the game started. The “Designated Pinch Hitter” will no longer be eligible to enter the game at any point.
  • The third is the “Designated Pinch Runner” rule. Like the “Designate Pinch Hitter” rule, a player who has not entered the game will be allowed to come in and pitch run for a player who is currently playing the game. After the inning, the current player will be allowed to return to their position, while the “Designated Pinch Runner” will no longer be eligible to enter the game at any point.
  • The fourth rule is a revised “Check Swing” rule. Typically on a check swing, the pitcher or catcher will ask for an appeal from either the first or third base umpire. Now, the batter will be allowed to ask for an appeal on a check swing.

Pioneer League president Michael Shapiro said,  “The Pioneer Baseball League is committed to developing ideas that enhance the strategy of the game, protect the safety of our players and add to the fun and engagement of our fans. We believe this focus will help assure the future of the game among a broader and more diverse audience.”

MiLB Rule Changes: Final Thoughts

These new MiLB rule changes have potential. These are rules that can make baseball more appealing to those fans who might not be familiar with baseball. Traditional baseball fans might argue that the game is perfect just how it is, but who doesn’t love the long ball? Baseball has always been about strategy but without the added excitement. Now, baseball fans will be able to get that excitement along with that cat and mouse game that we enjoy.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.

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