The Steering Committee of World Baseball Classic, Inc. met Thursday and approved several recommendations made by the tournamentâ€™s Rules and Regulations Committee. The following provisions will be in place in the 2009 World Baseball Classic:
- Pitch-count limits will be increased to 70 per game in Round One, 85 per game in Round Two and 100 per game in the Semi-Finals and Final (increased from 65/80/95 in 2006);
- With Semi-Final games being played on consecutive days, a pitcher rest equalization rule will be implemented to avoid giving an advantage to the team that played first. Any pitcher who throws 30 or more pitches in the Semi-Finals will not be eligible to pitch in the Finals;
- The MLB rule on video replay will be adopted, allowing a review by umpires for certain â€śboundaryâ€ť calls (home run over fence; fair/foul home run call; fan interference on home run call);
- Base coaches will be required to wear protective helmets;
- Participating teams will be required to announce the next dayâ€™s starting pitcher;
- A variant of the IBAF extra-inning rule, which was used in the 2008 Olympics, will be utilized: beginning with 13th inning, each half-inning will begin with runners on first and second base, with the batting order intact. The applicability of the rule to the championship game of the tournament is under review by the Rules and Regulations Committee.
The World Baseball Classic starts on March 5 with the first game being between China and Japan. (see complete schedule details).
See the complete provisional rosters for the 2009 WBC.
MLB Network will broadcast 16 World Baseball Classic games this year.
ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language home of baseball in the U.S., will present coverage of all 39 games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The network, which under a previously announced deal secured rights to 23 games of the event, secured exclusive Spanish-language rights for the remaining 16 games, it was announced Thursday.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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