· By Zach Kurdin
ATLANTIC LEAGUE RESTORES 60’6” PITCHING RUBBER DISTANCE
Successful Automated Ball - Strike Technology Migrates to Affiliated Minor League
(January 13, 2022, New York, N.Y.) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) announced today that it will return the distance of the pitching rubber to its conventional 60’6” and will resume having home plate umpires call balls and strikes for the 2022 ALPB Championship Season.
The Atlantic League has used the Automated Ball-Strike (ABS) system since the second half of its 2019 season and throughout the 2021 campaign as part of its innovative Test Rules and Equipment Partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB). Following the ALPB experiment and assessment, ABS is moving to an MLB affiliated league.
Atlantic League pitching rubber distances were moved back one foot to 61’6” for the second half of the 2021 season as part of the MLB test rules partnership. The test proved inconclusive, so both parties agreed to restore the pitching rubber distance to its traditional length of 60’6” for the upcoming ALPB season.
“As we enter 2022, we reaffirm to players and fans that ball-strike calls, and the distance of the pitching rubber, will return to accepted norms,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “We retain several past MLB test features, such as 17” bases, extra innings tiebreaker and anti-shift rules, among others. The test rules and equipment are transitional by definition: Some elements remain, others are tweaked, and still others are abandoned. That’s why MLB and the ALPB conduct the tests.”
The Atlantic League and MLB will announce 2022 test rules later this spring. “We are honored to pioneer the future of the game with Major League Baseball,” said White. “We’re proud that many tests today will find their way to the big leagues in the future. We will continue to closely corroborate on tests with MLB.” The experimental playing rule and equipment changes are part of a multi-year agreement between MLB and ALPB.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With teams throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 1,000 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 44 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 24-year history. For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.