Tag Archives: rules

Japan opts for slow and small

On Wednesday, Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Sadayuki Sakakibara said Japanese baseball is in no hurry to pursue its goal of more quickly played games if it means introducing a pitch timer.

For years, NPB has put up posters in every clubhouse and dugout urging teams to “Be Play Fasters!” And now when Major League Baseball has ostensibly come up with a solution in the form of the pitcher timer, demanding the batter and pitcher be ready to go for the next pitch in a hurry, NPB has no interest.

“Nothing has been decided, but I think the best thing is to play brisk games of baseball without a timer,” said Sakakibara, who added that he is in favor of requiring the next hitter to be in the box and ready to hit within 30 seconds.

This time last year, there was a ton of interest from Japan in the new rule from MLB, especially when the average time it took to play a nine-inning game dropped by 24 minutes in 2023.

You could hear the officials at the commissioner’s office drooling and preparing memos to the owners about this solution to their decades-long problem. Then after closer observation, the whole idea got tossed.

Continue reading Japan opts for slow and small

No need to touch rule book in Japan

Last night’s game between the Yakult Swallows and Chunichi Dragons featured NPB’s laughable interpretation of how to record an out at home plate — where a catcher can tag a runner out without even bothering to tag him.

In a scoreless game at Nagoya Dome between the Central League’s top-two clubs, the Swallows’ Shingo Kawabata tried to score on a single to right by Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, but a super throw from Dragons right fielder Atsushi Fujii arrived at the plate on a hop just barely ahead of the runner. Dragons catcher Masato Matsui waited for the throw a few feet from home up the third-base line and was obstructing home plate (illegal but permitted).

Kawabata slid into Matsui, who then caught the ball and juggled it. Meanwhile Kawabata’s momentum took him behind the catcher. The catcher, who never attempted to tag the runner, simply held the ball up for umpire Kazuhiro Kobayashi singled for the out on a tag play — or “touch” in Japanese — without a tag being attempted. This, too, is a violation of the rules in Japan but common practice.

The proper call would have been none, as Kawabata knowing he was out, but perhaps only knowing the rule book as well as Kobayashi, never bothered to touch home plate.

NPBreddit , found this video of the play.

A photo of the play’s finish can be found here.

Here‘s another play of the fairly common technique of catchers saving their energy by not tagging the runner.