The Global Game Podcast: WBSC Baseball Umpire Director Gustavo Rodriguez talks major rule changes by the WBSC

The Global Game Podcast: WBSC Baseball Umpire Director Gustavo Rodriguez talks major rule changes by the WBSC
17/11/2022
Major rule changes introduced by the WBSC include the Ohtani rule, pitching clocks, tie breaker rule with a runner at second base to start each half extra inning, the run ahead rule and seven inning games.

With more than 35 years of international baseball umpiring, Gustavo Rodriguez is one of the most recognizable and experienced voices in the umpiring world. The WBSC Baseball Umpire Director was the guest of the WBSC podcast - The Global Game and talked about new rules, rule changes, international baseball and his impressive career.

The Gus Rodriguez podcast is available in English and in Spanish.

Baseball rules have evolved throughout the years, making the game more dynamic and interesting for fans. One of the latest and more-impactful changes in the game has been the Ohtani Rule.

The new rule was introduced to solve a situation when a great hitter is also a great pitcher, like Japanese super-star Shohei Otani. “It’s a shame when you have a great player like that that is pitching and when you take him out of the game, you lose his bat,” Rodriguez explained.

Now, with the new rules, he can start on the mound, and then when he’s taken out of the game as a pitcher, he’s then treated as an offensive player. “You cannot go back in to pitch or play defence, but he can stay in the batting order. And that’s basically what we’ve done in the WBSC. We’re treating the batting order and the fielding totally separate, I think it helps our game,” he concluded.

Other major rule changes introduced by the WBSC including a pitching clock, tie breaker rule with a runner at second base to start each half extra inning, the run ahead rule and seven inning games.

Rodriguez also explained that his longevity in the game is due to the different cultures and interpretations in different countries around the game of baseball. “Every country is totally different in the way they look at the game of baseball,” he described.

And asked about the progress in the umpiring level in the last decades, he has witnessed a significant improvement. “My first international event was in 1987 in Taiwan, when we usually you had two umpires from USA, and they worked at home plate almost every day. Now it’s got to the point where we have very good umpires all over the world.”