At the time when the robot referees were brought in to help officiate the All-Star Game of the Atlantic League, Major League Baseball and the main office of the independent league decided to follow some more rules to experiment during the second half of the season. Among them is an expansion of the current third-baseball downfall rule in the Major Leagues, which now allows hitters to attempt to steal first if a pitch is not "caught in flight" by the receiver.
On Saturday, Tony Thomas, a Blue Crabs outfielder from Southern Maryland, became the first person to use this new rule, and the first player in baseball history to successfully steal first base. In the second pitch of his appearance on the plate, the ball flew just above the receiver of the Lancaster Barnstormers for what would normally have been a 1-1 count. After a couple of seconds of inactivity between the two players, something suddenly seemed to click on Thomas' head that reminded him of the change of this rule, probably a teammate or coach yelling at him. With the ball rolling to the top, the receiver could not reach the ball before Thomas first arrived safely.
The rule itself seems fine, but it is hard to have faith in any rule change that comes from the office of someone who, fundamentally, does not seem to enjoy baseball. It is also a kind of shit that this considerable change in the sport has been made in the middle of a season and use players who are not even in the highest level of the sport like guinea pigs, especially the receivers, who suddenly have to to get better. a set of athletic skills that will only be really necessary in this specific league.
But those problems are ultimately not very important for Rob Manfred, who just wants to see if any of this shit sticks to the wall, and if adding this change will finally get Mookie Betts involved in more commercials, or something like that. Baseball fans could begin to prepare to see this happen in a World Series in a few years.