Sports rules that have become obsolete, but still exist?

Are there any rules in sports that you can think of that although when they were written played a significant role in the game, now due to changes in the style of play or improvement of the standard equipment are now effectively irrelevant? If not for the guy in the street, at least for professionals?

Drop kick.

“Three points? Bullshit!!”

The first rule of baseball, “Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each”, has become obsolete with the advent of the American League designated hitter rule. Not sure why the official rules haven’t been changed yet to reflect this.

Because baseball still IS a game between two teams of nine players each. There are no more than 9 players on the field at any time. The DH is covered by a separate rule.

…did you just watch “The Longest Yard” too?

Traveling in pro basketball, those guys walk all game long, christ.

Logically, you would have to agree, then, that the rule was abandoned in roughly 1845, since teams have always had more than nine players pretty much since the sport was invented in its modern form. Major league teams have had 25-man teams since before you were born.

However, at any time, the offensive and defensive teams in play always have exactly nine men.

In baseball, obviously outdated rules include:

  1. Strikeouts not counting on dropped third strikes, an artifact of baseball’s precursor sports.

  2. The appeal rule, or parts thereof, anyway.

  3. A number of scoring conventions, most notably the manner in which wins and losses are assigned.

The need to throw 4 pitches for the Intentional Walk. They should change the rule and be allowed to tell the batter to just take the base or not allow the catcher to setup outside the batter’s box.
It use to be that catchers did not set up outside of box and it didn’t start until Lou Gehrig hit a pitch intended to be the 4th ball for a home run to win the game. *

*I might not have the story correct, this is anecdotal and possible a baseball legend.

Now, now … that’s only true for IMPORTANT players. Officials will happily call traveling on Mark Madsen or Stromile Swift.

That was the first thing that came to my mind as well. Even though it was cool last season when one was done.

How about eligible passer rule? Aside from a few trick plays run by the Steelers, I can’t think of a team that routinely has anyone but the QB pass. That’s not so much obsolete as rarely used.

The dreaded pine tar rule, rule 1.10(b) which states that “…a bat may not be covered by such a substance more than 18 inches from the tip of the handle.” George Brett had some experience with it.

This was instituted to prevent the ball from being marked by tar. In today’s game, the ball is replaced if the bat comes anywhere close to it, rendering the rule meaningless.

“Use a fresh Dane’s head…”

Or, in baseball, the “catcher’s balk” rule.

"Game ball.*

They don’t call it often in college, either. I’ve actually contemplated making a drinking game out of spotting walks that don’t get called.

But isn’t there always the potential for a wild pitch or the catcher botching the catch (however rare that may be) resulting in someone being able to steal a base? I would think that your abolishment of the need to throw the pitches only benefits the pitching team. Or is that the point?

Here’s a better idea: award 2 bases for an intentional walk. That’ll cut down on this “let’s give good hitters free passes” mentality that dominates the NL lately.

The Wild pitch happens almost never and the Stolen Base is particularly hard to pull off, each pitch of the intentional walk is effectively a pitch-out pitch. For the once a decade chance of a wild pitch and the once a year chance of a Stolen Base save us all some time and the pitcher 4 pitches and wave the batter to first.

I like the idea of cutting down on intentional walks. I would prefer to just prevent catchers from setting up outside. You want to walk someone, try and pitch around them and take your chances. A player like Vlad or Soriano would be especially fun to watch. But this would cause an increase in Hit By Pitch and would result in some going to high and result in more on field brawls. In todays game the best fit would probably be just wave the guy to First.


Dude, you’d be positively *wrecked *by halftime.

I once read that there was a rule in baseball stating players on opposing teams aren’t supposed to fraternize with each other during the game, don’t know if it still on the books but it is surely not enforced. Also, aren’t pitchers and free throw shooters in basketball supposed to have 10 seconds max between pitches and foul shots?

Yeah, when the bases are empty, the pitcher is supposed to throw the ball within 20 seconds or a ball is called.

The catcher is not supposed to leave the box until after the pitch is thrown. While setting up outside the box is not allowed, prematurely moving out of the box during delivery is unfortunately tolerated.

The strike zone called by umpires has little relation to what the rule book states for many years now.

In basketball, in addition to travelling, palming the ball and double dribbling are now allowed. It is astonishing for an “old timer” like me to see double dribbling happening in the Final Four ™.