A source inside the official scoring community gave me a peak at the actual text of the changes to the official scoring rules.
I previously wrote a very, very long piece on the changes in the Official Rules of Baseball, but MLB only released the text of Rules 1 through 9, which deal with the rules on the field.
But I'm a guy who keeps score. There were changes to the details of baseball that I enjoy.
So here we go:
One of the big changes was a formal definition of "ordinary effort", a phrase used in determining whether something is a hit or an error. It used to be that "ordinary effort" was just what the official scorer thought was effort that seemed ordinary.
But now it is defined:
ORDINARY EFFORT is the effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play, with due consideration given to the condition of the field and weather conditions.
Will this make much of a difference? Probably not, but it does give the official scorer something to rely on when deciding between a hit and error, instead of just guessing. Obviously, there is still a high degree of subjectivity.
Batters won't be charged with a GIDP if the runner on base is called out for interference.
If a relief pitcher comes in and his first out is an appeal play, the reliever gets credit for the 1/3 of an inning pitched.
The time of a game does not include weather delays, light failures, or other technological problems, but it does include delays for injuries.
Attendance, provided by the home club, is an official stat.
The final score of a forfeit is the score at the end of the game unless the game never started. Then it will be 9-0.
"Defensive indifference" was clarified and the scorer must consider "the totality of the circumstances, including the inning and score of the game, whether the defensive team had held the runner on base, whether the pitcher had made any pickoff attempts on that runner before the runner's advance, whether the fielder ordinarily expected to cover the base to which the runner advanced made a move to cover such base, whether the defensive team had a legitimate strategic move to not contest the runner's advance or whether the defensive team might be trying impermissibly to deny the runner credit for a stolen base." One of the examples given is, runners on first and third, the runner on first breaks for second and the catcher doesn't throw through for fear of the runner on third breaking for home. This is a stolen base. And now if a team tries to screw a player out of a stolen base to keep him from breaking a record by looking "indifferent", it won't fly.
The puzzling rule described as not "crediting a caught stealing in a situation where the batter would not have been credited with a stolen base" was, as I suspected, a typo. They meant runner and it refers to not being credited with a caught stealing when trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.
Batters get the benefit of the doubt on sacrifices when thrown out when bunting. That was already in the rules, but it was just explained more fully.
"Ordinary effort" (which was defined above) is now the standard to determine if a batter gets credit for a hit or a sacrifice when reaching safely.
The old definition of a putout "A putout shall be credited to each fielder who (1) catches a fly ball or a line drive, whether fair or foul; (2) catches a thrown ball which puts out a batter or runner, or (3) tags a runner when the runner is off the base to which he legally is entitled" didn't include touching a base to force out a runner. Now it does. I guess nobody noticed.
Fielders can be charged with an error for mental mistakes, but only if it involves a physical misplay. For example, Josh Paul rolling the back to the mound in the 2005 ALCS because the umpire ruled that he didn't catch the third strike, is an error. Throwing the ball to third for a force out on a nonexistent runner isn't an error.
A good throw that turns out bad because it bounces off of a base, but lets a runner advance is still an error.
No wild pitches or passed balls are charged if the defense manages to throw out one of the runners on base.
When there is catcher's interference in an inning and a run scores, the official scorer has to wait to see how the inning plays out to see which runs are earned. In the case given as example, Abel reaches on catcher's interference (which is an error on the catcher), then Baker homers. Baker's run is earned. Abel's is not. You cannot assume a batter reaching first on catcher's interference would have been out or safe if it didn't happen.
If the starting pitcher does not go the minimum five innings for a win, the reliever that gets credited with the win will be the one declared to be the most effective, not necessarily the first one in the game. The scorers are supposed to examine the context of the game and how long a pitcher stayed in the game. If more than one pitcher is considered effective, then the first one in gets the win.
Relievers are not supposed to be credited with a win if their appearance is "brief and ineffective" and that's been defined now. The pitcher would have to pitch less than one inning and allow two or more earned runs. Sometimes though that pitcher will still get credit with the win if there is no else to follow and his team bails him out.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, relievers get credit for a save if they pitch three innings or more and finish the game and their team wins. It doesn't matter how well. I will not gloat further.
A pitcher must get credit for at least 1/3 of an inning to get a save. A pitcher could have, potentially, entered a game in a save situation, warmed up, and then have the game rained out. It never happened, but this loophole was closed.
If a player enters the game on defense, but the game is called before a pitch is thrown, the player is listed in the batting statistics, but does not receive credit for a game played on defense.
The practice of counting fractional innings in determining ERAs was formalized.