Rule changes coming for South Bend Cubs

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The next South Bend Cubs game you go to may be a little different. Minor League Baseball has changed a few rules to help speed up the games. Baseball fans may not notice the new changes this year right off the bat. Managers are limited to 10 mound visits per game, but the major difference won't come until extra innings. Each team will start the inning with a runner already on second base.

"You'll take the previous out from the inning before," said South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart. "He'll start on second base, or if the manager wants, that's his opportunity to pinch run and maybe put a faster runner in."

Hart says the change will hopefully speed up the game, as well as protect players.

"You see it now in the major leagues. You got pitch counts for these guys, they need so many days of rest and ultimately that's starting in the minor leagues," said Hart.

Hart says an 18-inning game like last year can set a team back as they continue their schedule. From a business standpoint Marylou Pallo, who works at the Cubs Den, believes it will help.

"We have a lot of fans with young children and so when we go into extras, they don't necessarily stay for the end of the game because the children just can't handle it," said Pallo.

"A lot of those people would like to see fireworks shot off at 10:30 or 10:45 versus 12:15 at night," said Hart.

Some baseball purists have mixed opinions on the rule change

"I think that'll be very weird, I think they should keep it a normal game,"Jason Sheppard.

Hart understands some fans may not like it.

"When it happens three or four times a year out of 70 home games," said Hart. "You know at the end of the day it's not a significant amount of games. If it was something that was happening 35-40 times. Well then maybe that would be a bigger issue."

Hart says this is an experimental rule for the minor leagues for this year and may not stay or ever effect the majors.

The team's home opener is April 7th.

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