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MLB Testing Strange New Rule Allowing Players to Steal First Base

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Major League Baseball has proposed a slew of new rules in the past couple of years, but none as radical as one now incubating in the minor leagues.

For the second half of this season, players in the independent Atlantic League will be allowed to steal first base.

If you’re wondering what that means, you’re not alone.

The new rule will let batters try to reach first base safely after any dropped pitch. So, just like a batter can try to reach first on a dropped third strike, now he will be able to do the same on any dropped pitch, Yahoo Sports explained.

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In other words, any dropped pitch, passed ball or wild pitch is a live ball, meaning all runners can advance, including the batter — no matter what the count is, Yahoo Sports reported.

The Atlantic League is an independent minor league that struck an agreement with MLB to be a testing ground for new ideas.

Do you think "stealing first" is a good idea?

For example, the Atlantic League this year is experimenting with robot umpires to judge balls and strikes. The automated strike zones debuted at the Atlantic League All-Star game Wednesday.

There’s no guarantee that the concept of stealing first base will ever make it to the big leagues, but if it did, it would radically change the game.

It certainly would put more of a premium on speed, and it would cause pitchers to be much more accurate, even with no runners on base.

Robot umpires might never make it to the majors either, but according to The Associated Press, the automated strike zones were generally deemed a success at the Atlantic League All-Star game.

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The MLB will analyze these and other ideas being tested in the Atlantic League at the end of the season.

If you want to see the concept of stealing first in action, check out an Atlantic League game this summer.

There are eight teams in the league: the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Barnstormers, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters, the York (Pennsylvania) Revolution, the High Point (North Carolina) Rockers, the Long Island (New York) Ducks, the New Britain (Connecticut) Bees and the Somerset (New Jersey) Patriots.

What do you think of this idea?

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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