March 23, 2021
The main difference will apply to foul-tips, which now can be caught after they strike the catcher's body or gear. Further discussion is needed about the three-batter minimum rule.
The WBSC Baseball Tournament Commission has met to review various changes introduced by Major League Baseball (MLB) to the official baseball rules during the 2020 season. Out of the 16 amendments made by MLB, the WBSC Tournament Commission, which is chaired Jim Baba (Canada), recommended the implementation of five with two up for further evaluation. All five recommendations have been approved for implementation into WBSC events from 2021.
The meeting also featured WBSC Baseball Umpiring Commission chair Gus Rodriguez.
Top of the list is the implementation of the new foul-tip regulation. The amended rule 5.09 (a) states that a foul-tip can be now caught after striking any part of the catcher's body or gear.
An amendment to Rule 3.03(e) will prohibit pitchers from wearing sleeves that can distract the batter's view. The final decision will be left to the judgment of the umpiring crew.
While the amendment to Rule 5.07(a) indicates that a second step towards home plate by the pitcher should be treated as an illegal pitch, which had already been implemented in WBSC Umpire's Manual.
The Commission also recommended amending WBSC tournament rules to introduce a clarification about who the next batter would be after a runner is declared out on interference, Rule 6.01(a), and about the definition of intentional interference, Rule 6.01(d).
On a different note, the WBSC Tournament Commission recommended modifying WBSC tournament rules about suspended participants to ensure they can't attend tournament venues during the time of their suspension.
Meanwhile, the Commission recommended not to implement the amendments to the 5.10 rules that include the three-batter minimum rule due to WBSC tournaments having multiple games scheduled in a short period of time. The Commission said limitations to pitchers' use are already part of the WBSC tournament rules in youth Baseball World Cups. The U-15 and U-12 Baseball World Cups also have pitch count limitations.
The Commission will further discuss the possibility of reconsidering this rule-change in the WBSC Premier12.