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02/16/2007 4:22 PM ET
Playing Rules Committee implements changes for 2007 season
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Official rule changes
Summary of official scoring rule changes

A substantial number of changes made to the Official Baseball Rules by the Playing Rules Committee will be in effect at the Major League level during the 2007 season, it was announced today.

Under Major League Rule 25(c), the Playing Rules Committee is charged with voting to amend the Official Baseball Rules. The Playing Rules Committee addressed a number of areas where existing Rules could be clarified, harmonized with other Rules or amended to be consistent with accepted practices at the professional level. The Rules amendments primarily address those areas and do not make any major changes in the way the game is played. This marks the first time that the Rules have been changed since 1996, when the Strike Zone was redefined.

Among the changes is a modification to the Rule regarding regulation tie games. The Rules had provided that a game that is called with the score tied in the bottom of the fifth inning or later is a tie game, to be replayed in its entirety, though player statistics count. In accordance with a unanimous recommendation from the Major League General Managers at their 2005 meetings, the Rule has been changed so that a tied regulation game that is stopped now will be suspended and resumed before the next scheduled game between the same two clubs on the same grounds (or, before the next scheduled game at the visiting club's grounds, if no more games remain at the original club's home park); only if no scheduled games remain between the two clubs would the game be a called, tie game, in which case it would be replayed in its entirety only if necessary to affect a playoff spot.

Many of the changes that the Playing Rules Committee made went into effect in Minor League Baseball play in 2006. After discussions with the Major League Baseball Players Association, several of the amendments passed after the 2005 season and additional ones passed after the 2006 season will be in effect for Major League play in 2007. The Major League Baseball Umpiring Department is explaining these changes to the field staff of the Major League Clubs in visits to each Club's Spring Training facility.

The Playing Rules Committee also extensively revised Official Baseball Rule 10, which concerns official scorers and scoring rules, acting upon recommendations of an ad hoc advisory committee comprised of official scorers, Club personnel and Major League Baseball staff. Among the changes relating to official scoring are:

• a new definition of "ordinary effort" to guide scorers in making determinations on hits, errors and other rulings;
• the addition of many casebook comments to guide official scorers;
• the codification of an appeal process of official scorer decisions; and • a reorganization of certain scoring rules.

The Official Playing Rules Committee consists of the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Padres, Sandy Alderson, who serves as Chair of the Committee; Bob Beban, the President and General Manager of the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, a 19-year Major League veteran; John McHale, Jr., MLB's Executive Vice President of Administration; Terry Ryan, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota Twins; John Schuerholz, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Atlanta Braves; Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations; Bill Stoneman, the Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Umpire Larry Young, who has over 22 years of experience at the Major League level.

"A number of issues about the playing rules, some more technical in nature than others, had accumulated among umpires, Clubs, players and Major League Baseball for some time," Alderson said. "The Playing Rules Committee hopes that these amendments will serve to clarify these issues and, by doing so, benefit all who play and umpire the game at all levels."

Summaries of the Official Baseball Rules changes are appended, one explaining changes to Rules 1 through 9 and the other explaining changes to the Rules governing official scoring.
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