Wednesday, April 1, 2020

New Atlantic League Rules for 2020

Despite baseball's indefinite shutdown, the Atlantic League, having partnered with MLB in 2019 with rules such as allowing batters to steal first base on any wild pitch, announced experimental rules for its 2020 campaign. obtained exclusive information on some rule changes for the upcoming season. They are as follows:

1a) The Automated Ball/Strike System has been programmed to call check swings by determining whether the barrel of the bat has crossed the front edge of home plate. This will manifest in the existing ABS system by announcing "strike" whenever ABS determines that the bat crossed the front edge of home plate. Occasionally, ABS might mistake the bat for a pitched ball, but the call of "strike" shall nonetheless prevail.

In an effort to promote social distancing, all umpires shall stand at least three feet behind the catcher when adjudicating balls and strikes in what is being informally referred to as the "Non-Phil Cuzzi Mechanic."

Will the latest changes make it to MiLB?
As was the case in 2019, the media shall not be permitted to take any photos of the computer screen displaying the ABS system; the sole ABS outcome that shall be communicated to the public shall be the system's final decision of "ball" or "strike."

1b) The glitch in which ABS fails to call either "ball" or "strike" has been fixed. Despite our previous reporting and pages upon pages of evidence that ABS routinely misses pitches ("When I say it missed 500 pitches [in April], that didn't mean they called them wrong. They didn't call them at all" - Joe West), the league has assured folks this was due to a persistent volume error on Apple iOS which cut out the audio signal right at the moment of verbalization. Umpires have been instructed that when the system outputs no audio, the proper call is "strike."
Related Post: Video - Truth About Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone (5/30/19).

ALPB doesn't want a repeat of Frank Violin.
1c) Umpires have been instructed to refrain from ejecting any players in connection with the Automated Ball/Strike System's pitch calls. Any such ejection shall be subject to league review; however, under the newly-adopted "Frank Viola Rule," any non-player who argues the Automated Ball/Strike System shall be subject to immediate discipline, up to and including demotion to the Houston Astros.

2) No more automatic doubles if the ball bounces over the fence. Instead, the umpire shall determine where the ball first contacted the playing field to determine base awards. If the ball first bounced off the outfield grass, a two-base award shall be had, as the present rules dictate. However, a new universal ground rule will award a ground-rule triple if the ball first contacts the dirt warning track before bounding over the wall and out of play. For scorekeepers, an error shall be charged in connection with the play if at any time the ball touched an outfielder.

Players caught using Barroids shall be banned.
3) Batters can no longer wear any protective equipment. The "Barry Bonds Rule" includes arm guards, shin guards or anything worn for the disproportionate rationale of "safety" at the expense of making a hit-by-pitch more likely. Penalty shall be ejection for the first offense and relegation to the San Francisco Giants on the second.

4) Batters can steal third base on a wild pitch. The play at third will become a force play.  If the batter/runner is thrown out at third, the inning is over no matter how many outs there were when the play began. If he is safe, the next batter comes to the plate with a new count. A batter can not steal third if it’s occupied, but shall be permitted to run after the wild pitch/passed ball and kick the ball away from the catcher or other fielder.

5) All bases will be red, white, and blue because: AMERICA! The blue bases are worth two points. A player may physically steal a base and carry it around the base paths in order to avoid being put out; however, such a base intentionally dislodged and carried by the offense may only be returned to its natural position during a live ball or base award as the result of actions that occurred during a live ball.

Players may brandish bases to avoid outs.
6) All games will now be eight innings and all batters shall inherit a 1-1 count in any game whose score differential is four or greater. In an effort to increase scoring, all games shall begin with both teams tied at a score of 9-9.

7) There will be a three-hour time limit on all games with no new inning beginning at two hours and forty minutes from the scheduled start time.

8) The 8th inning will be our special comeback inning to keep the fans entertained. If a manager elects to use a pinch-hitter, his run will count as double (triple on blue bases). If the pinch hitter hits a home run, all runs count as quadruple. If the bases are loaded, the home run shall be a quintuple.

Many have been following the bizarre rule changes ever since the eastern indy league has grabbed money from MLB and became obliged to obey just about every request—these were the requests for 2020.


Robbed-of-Sense Manfred:  “You believe this?!  We keep trolling them and they keep letting us do whatever we want.  I was going to suggest that each team has to play with a little leaguer, but we found out insurance would be too high and that no little leaguers want to be part of a rinky dink production…Did I do it again?  Did I say that out loud."

Chris Younger-Than-Springtime: "The Atlantic League, what’s that? You guys know I was the pitcher and not the hitter right?"

Joe Torree: “I have this problem.  Randy keeps calling me just to chat. When will he realize he’s no longer working for the office?”

Rick-Roll White: “As long as umpires don’t mess up, we’ll have a great season. The reason we had to change the strike zone is because the umpires aren’t very good, but I respect them a lot. Nobody respects umpires more than me. I'd never defend them, but they must be some of the best people in the game. But don't tell anyone that because it might not be false. But seriously, our league might be out of business in 10 years if MLB leaves. Please don't leave, we'll do whatever you say."

Mike Pfaffy Taffy:  “Everyone knows I run the league. You know that, right? Wanna work here, you gotta get by me. They don't call 'em the Long Island Kings for nothing. Oh, you wanted to know about the new rules?  Well I’m hoping we expand to the moon: 30 teams by 2030 that’s what I say!  In reality, as long as the island makes money, why would I care about the rules?"

Happy April Fools' Day, everyone!