As exciting as the World Baseball Classic has been, we also have the final stage of spring training upon us.
The two are being played under a different set of rules.
While this edition of the WBC doesn’t have a pitch clock, a shift ban or larger bases, spring training is being played with the new rules.
That means pitchers have 20 seconds until pitches to start their new delivery, and 15 if there is no runners on base.
Hitters also have adjustments to do: they have to be alert to the pitch by the eight-second mark.
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras failed to do so, and thus saw a strike added to the count.
Since he already had two strikes, he had to go sit.
“Old habits die hard. Willson Contreras adjusts his batting gloves after a foul ball and pays the price with an automatic third strike,” Codify Baseball tweeted, with a video of the incident.
Old habits die hard. 😐
Willson Contreras adjusts his batting gloves after a foul ball and pays the price with an automatic third strike. pic.twitter.com/s8jDtpudNp
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 20, 2023
Much like late-90s Nomar Garciaparra, Contreras was seen adjusting his batting gloves between pitches.
By the time he was alert to the pitch, it was too little, too late.
It certainly wasn’t the first eight-second rule violation by a hitter, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Hitters have, for all their lives, taken as much time as they have needed to get ready for a pitch.
The league, however, is trying to increase the pace of play and decrease total game times.
That’s why they introduced the new rules.
Let’s hope Contreras can make the necessary adjustments before the 2023 campaign starts.NEXT: 2 Modern Cardinals Legends Shared Some Friendly WBC Beef