MLB 12-Second Rule I introduced my wife to MLB in 2006 and went over the rules with her while watching games. She picked them up real fast, which is an achievement because some people have been watching for 30 years and still don’t get the quirks. She asked me if the pitcher can take his time before throwing the ball to the batter, and I said the rule book has a 12-second rule. I cited one time when I saw it in action- an umpire used it against David Wells and called a ball on him just to be a dick. But then I told her umpires don’t enforce it. Here’s the rule in question:
8.04- When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
I couldn’t give her an explanation as why umpires don’t enforce rule 8.04, why Josh Beckett was allowed to take 40 seconds to throw a pitch on Sunday night, or why umpires don’t enforce other rules written plainly in the rule book. Some of these rules include the diagram of the strike zone, players fraternizing with other teams and fans, catcher blocking the plate, allowing the double-play phantom tag, batter stepping out of the batter’s box, and others.
I can’t stand when rules aren’t enforced at all, arbitrarily enforced, or when Bud Selig releases statements/warnings like the rule violation is “new” and not in the rulebook (yet with no penalties). Selig makes recommended guidelines although the rules are preexisting.
I’m not sure why Joe Torre (who works for Bud Selig) had to call Boston manager Terry Francona to threaten him about the time Beckett was taking, when it should have been enforced in-game. This has been going on all year. And it’s not just Beckett- it’s everyone in 2011. Very few pitchers follow the 12-second rule, even when Selig asked umpires to speed the game up a couple of years ago. There was some chatter about the 12-second rule a few years ago, but the Yankees and Red Sox pretty much ignored it on national TV as soon as the season started the last couple of seasons.
Even Freddy Garcia used 19 seconds to pitch. When I was a kid and bought the MLB rule book to be like Tim McCarver (pre-Internet), I was amazed about how many obscure and unenforced rules existed. I would count to 12 between each pitch in the 1980′s while my family watched the Mets or Yankees. I recall the pitcher releasing at 12 seconds, usually 10-13 seconds with no runners on base. With runners on base, I realized that the 12-second rule did not apply. Not sure why (stretch?), but it was over 12.
The 2011 major league baseball average is 18.6 with the bases empty (unacceptable) and 27 seconds with runners on base (understandable but not acceptable).
Twelve seconds on a stop-watch each pitch, not complicated stuff, folks. It is the only aspect of baseball that is supposed to be clocked. For example, it seems a pitcher could throw to 1B for infinity to try and pick off a runner, although I assume the umpire would cite 4.15 A game may be forfeited to the opposing team when a team— (b) Employs tactics palpably designed to delay or shorten the game or 8.02 (c) Intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher, when the batter is in position, except in an attempt to retire a runner. PENALTY: If, after warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher shall be removed from the game or perhaps 8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—(h) The pitcher unnecessarily delays the game.
Anyway, do you really want to apologize and defend umpires selectively enforcing rules?
By the way, Josh Beckett may have controlled his rage, anger, and impulses and has become a legit ace but he sure makes one boring slow ass pitcher. I wonder if he is boring the hitters into submission and that’s why his ERA is so low.
- Umpire Joe West Rips Yankees and Red Sox
- Bud Selig World Series Rain Delay Suspended Game
- Red Sox fans complaining about Joba, umpires, and Yankees
- Game 12: BoSox beat Yanks: Girardi and Mussina mistake
- Armando Galarraga’s Almost Perfect Game, Umpire Jim Joyce, Bud Selig Doesn’t Reverse Call
- Bud Selig running background checks on MLB umpires
- Umpire plays joke on player
- Derek Jeter Cheater Controversy: Lying About Getting HBP
- World Series Game 4: Johnny Damon steals show, A-Rod MVP
- Yanks beat Angels at their own game
- I don’t believe…what I just saw
- Red Sox Sweep Yankees Part II
- Wells: "I’m a victim"
- Joba Sucks, Marcus Thames Error, Randy Winn Weak, BoSox Rally
- Yanks Crush Red Sox 14-3; Teixeira 3 Homeruns
- Mariners beat CC Sabathia
- Game 118: Angels SWEEP Yankees at Anaheim
- Opening Night: Red Sox beat Yankees; Chan Ho Park
- Game 123: Gardner and Cano beat Royals in 13th inning
- Game 52: LaTroy Hawkins Sucks