“We are Happy to announce the approval of this innovative decision by a 4/1 vote of our rules committee,” said League Commissioner Bill Lee. “While all of the owners in the league still need to confirm this amendment at the annual meeting in April, we’re confident we have the votes to take a leading role in putting Frontier League fans first in professional baseball.”
Beginning with the 2014 season, each turn at-bat will begin with a 1-1 count already in place. The proposed rule change is intended to speed the pace of play and deliver more excitement for fans. “Fans don’t want to watch hitters take pitches, they want to see the ball in play and action on the field,” declared Kyle Kreger, General Manager of the Normal CornBelters and a member of the rules committee. “Red Sox/Yankees games have become notorious for being four hour marathons, that’s simply too long to be of interest and enjoyable to the average fan.”
Not everyone is sold yet however, Jamie Bennett, manager of the defending champion Schaumburg Boomers and the manager’s representative on the rules committee is in the minority opposing the rule. “As a former pitcher, I know first-hand the need for a pitcher to be able to manipulate a pitch sequence to Fool a batter with an out pitch,” Bennett explained.
“We’ve done our homework on this, it wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” reassured Josh Schaub CEO of the Joliet Slammers and rules committee chairman. “Through analysis by two baseball statistics companies, we’ve learned that we’ll take an average of 22 minutes off the time of a 9-inning game. Seeing the results of the study sold me.”
Frontier League Deputy Commissioner Steve Tahsler added, “Based on my research, over the last four seasons, 41% of the plate appearances that advanced to the third pitch, did so with a 1-1 count.”
The Frontier League Owner’s Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Indianapolis at which time the rules committee will present their recommendation to the league. A simple majority of the 14-team league, with a tie-breaking vote in the hands of Commissioner Bill Lee, will determine the outcome.