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Monday, February 19, 2018

MLB announces pace of play initiatives | MLB.com

I don’t see a pitch clock. Of course, they can just enforce the current rules.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2018 at 01:35 PM | 124 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rules of the game

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   1. catomi01 Posted: February 19, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5626937)
I would have liked the pitch clock, but all of these are pretty reasonable. How much time they'll actually save is questionable, but at least they seem to have avoided any of the truly stupid proposals that were floating around.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: February 19, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5626952)
Recognizing that many people will find this an indictment rather than praise I find this to be a Selig-like move. For all the talk about the contentious relationship between players and owners Manfred has avoided the real hot button (pitch clock) while still making some changes. Just saving 25 seconds per inning change is nearly 9 minutes and the 6 mound visits feels like it will have some impact. If nothing else it should force catchers to not just reflexively go out to the mound.
   3. BDC Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5626956)
OK, the best way to evaluate something is to try to break it. What are the likely breakabilities here:

Mound visits: Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings

So if you're sparing of them, you can make six in the ninth inning?

Visits … after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted

I guess that's OK, but pinch-hitters usually just appear without much fanfare, and don't need a heck of a lot of strategizing to cope with. This exemption probably means that every PH will occasion a mound visit, because it's a freebie. Fortunately with so few bench players nowadays, PHs are rare.

If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher

I.e. he will always grant it, realistically, if the catcher asks.

   4. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5626964)
So what's the penalty for going to the mound the 7th time? It's not stated anywhere in the rules that I can see. I would assume that it would require the pitcher to be taken out of the game.
   5. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5626966)
I guess the Announcement of Pace-of-Play Initiatives is an annual February tradition now.

The only item on this year's list that's going to stick at all is the reduced time between innings--which doesn't affect pace of play!
   6. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5626967)
So what's the penalty for going to the mound the 7th time?

I believe the umpire will say, "Come on guys, you're making me look bad."
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5626968)
So what's the penalty for going to the mound the 7th time?


He's guillotined at home plate. Cuts down on repeat offenders.
   8. Stormy JE Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5626972)
Cuts down
No kidding.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5626975)
Anyway, this whole thing is so dumb it makes me mad. These rules are so complex, layered with so many special situations and exceptions. The umpires are going to hate them. Players will hate them. Nobody will remember them. They don't attack the heart of the problem, at all. This is an obvious classic "death by committee" solution.

Here's my favorite part:

III. Batter's Box Rule
The batter's box rule that was in effect during the 2017 season will remain in effect during the 2018 season.


Oh, great. The rule everyone stopped enforcing after about 3 weeks.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5626976)
This is just pathetic.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5626978)
Just imagine if there were no play clock in the NFL but there were instead a lot of judgment calls on what did or did not constitute a "huddle."

I get the caution in instituting a play clock. I consider it an aesthetic crime to the game. But the pace has gotten so bad that I'm ready for the clock. Instead of nibbling at the edges in this ridiculous way they should institute a hard clock in the minor leagues and see what happens.
   12. The Duke Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5626980)
They don’t have room to track all these new dictates on most scoreboards so I expect we will see another round of taxpayer financed stadiums to keep up with the new regulations

In all seriousness, if one didn’t really understand the regulatory state that one party wants to impose on Americans, this is a really good example of what the federal government does to its citizens and taxpayers. It’s all well-intentioned by people with no clue, hated by all, puts all kinds of power with bureaucrats (umpires) and completely impossible to unwind once imbedded in the rule book.


   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5626985)
In all seriousness, if one didn’t really understand the regulatory state that one party wants to impose on Americans, this is a really good example of what the federal government does to its citizens and taxpayers. It’s all well-intentioned by people with no clue, hated by all, puts all kinds of power with bureaucrats (umpires) and completely impossible to unwind once imbedded in the rule book.

Yeah, that's a great direction to take this thread.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5626996)
I feel like the complaints here are a bit misguided. I don’t think they are necesssarily wrong but I’d rather see incremental steps than nothing. As an example if a more deliberate approach to implementing replay had been made we’d be bettter off.

I don’t really disagree with #11 but once the genie is out of the bottle (i.e. pitch clock) even if it’s a problem for some reason it’s hard to put it back in.
   15. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5627000)
I feel like the complaints here are a bit misguided. I don’t think they are necesssarily wrong but I’d rather see incremental steps than nothing.


They're not incremental steps, though--they're toothless PR moves. The purpose of these "initiatives" is transparently to give the appearance of making the players play at a quicker pace, without actually making them change anything at all. All of this on-field stuff will be ignored by the players and umpires either right out of the gate or by the first of May. Just last last year, and the year before that.

In practice, nothing significant is going to change until MLB's revenues take a tumble.
   16. DavidFoss Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5627007)
I get the caution in instituting a play clock. I consider it an aesthetic crime to the game. But the pace has gotten so bad that I'm ready for the clock. Instead of nibbling at the edges in this ridiculous way they should institute a hard clock in the minor leagues and see what happens.

Could we get the data guys to start tracking things? We now know how many milliseconds it takes for Byron Buxton to start running after the ball was hit in his direction, so we should be able to track how many milliseconds between each pitch. A list of slowest pitchers and batters could be known and we could also have a sense of how bad they are relative to the average.

My sense is that the slowest players either don't know that they're slow or they are going to wait until they're told to speed up. I'm as against pitch clocks as anyone, but if an amateur player tried to play as slow as MLB they'd get pulled from the game. The exception perhaps being catcher visits. Amateurs might get their signs mixed up more?
   17. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5627008)
A list of slowest pitchers and batters could be known and we could also have a sense of how bad they are relative to the average.

Easily and widely available. How does it help?

My sense is that the slowest players either don't know that they're slow or they are going to wait until they're told to speed up.

Unquestionably the latter.


I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that MLB should use peer pressure to enforce quicker pace? That worked for decades, but it will never work again.
   18. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5627010)
puts all kinds of power with bureaucrats (umpires)
The best way to fix pace of play issues would be to encourage the on-field bureaucrats to do everything in their power to keep things moving and then to support them to the hilt when frictions arise. This plan would require upgrading the quality of the bureaucrats, and thus is a non-starter (for this reason and others as well). But it would be the best and most aesthetically pleasing solution.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5627012)
Could we get the data guys to start tracking things? We now know how many milliseconds it takes for Byron Buxton to start running after the ball was hit in his direction, so we should be able to track how many milliseconds between each pitch. A list of slowest pitchers and batters could be known and we could also have a sense of how bad they are relative to the average.

The data are already out there. The slowest pitchers have already been informed. They won't change unless they are forced to.
   20. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 19, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5627023)
Most of us know the history of pace of play and why it's been getting slower and slower for 70 years. But for anyone who doesn't and is curious, the Bill James NHBA describes the issue excellently:

Baseball's poetic and lyrical celebrants are fond of pointing out that baseball is the only major team sport without a clock. What these people don't understand is that, until about 1945, baseball did have a clock. It was called the sun. Baseball games, until the advent of night ball, had to be crisply played because they often didn't start until late afternoon, and they had to be finished by sundown, and sundown then was an hour sooner than it is now. Umpires, until World War II, were very much in the habit of enforcing a certain degree of attention to time. Umpires who failed to do this effectively were subject to criticism from the press, and were sometimes fined by the league, simply for failing to "move the games along." Even after the coming of night baseball, the habit of moving the games along was well established in the population of baseball umpires--in the umpires who pre-dated Night Baseball, many of whom lasted into the 1960s. Their influence, somewhat attenuated, affected the generation of umpires they trained.

Generations of umpires have come and gone since then, and that idea--that the umpire could or should keep the game moving--has largely been lost. Baseball games in the late 1990s consist of an inordinate amount of just messing around.


And that highlights the only way there will ever be meaningful positive change in pace of play: the league office has to force the UMPIRES, by fining them for noncompliance if necessary, to force the players to stop messing around and play baseball. The selfish interest of the players will always be to play at a slow pace, to take their sweet time to get their own mental zen nice and comfy before stepping back in the box or throwing the next pitch.

This hasn't yet happened, because so long as revenues stay up, the league office doesn't really care. The way Rob Manfred sees it is not that pace of play is a problem, but that the media constantly poking him about pace of play is a problem. But unless and until revenues start going down, the league is not going to fight the players and the umpires over this. They're going to deal with what they perceive as a PR problem; they'll continue to announce "initiatives" every winter and then quietly decline to enforce them come summer.
   21. DavidFoss Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5627030)
The data are already out there. The slowest pitchers have already been informed. They won't change unless they are forced to.

OK, thanks. I figured fans could start boo-ing them or something. Is the list online?

I think in golf, they only start using the clock when someone complains.
   22. BDC Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:05 PM (#5627033)
the league office doesn't really care so long as the revenues stay up

Exactly.

I do wonder if and when declining in-person attendance will start to register. Attendance in 2017 was down by a million fans (500 per game) from 2015. It might cycle back up, or that might be a trend (2017 was the lowest attendance since 2003).

Teams also have access to how many actual attendees that represents; announced attendance only represents seats sold. I've been at games where the announced attendance had to be far greater than the number of people in the seats. And there's also the factor of how long an average stay in the park is, which affects concessions – I don't know how clubs might measure that, but they must at least estimate it. I've argued before that nobody cares about four-hour games if the fans are around for three of those hours, but if they start to come later and later and leave earlier and earlier …

But revenue from TV and other media might make up (and more) for a million unsold tickets.
   23. DFA Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5627048)
I like the idea of a pitch clock, but only in the minor leagues. I don't want to see it in the majors. I think over time this could be effective.

Regarding punishment, outside of unleashing dogs with bees in their mouths, I'm out of ideas.
   24. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5627051)
the league office has to force the UMPIRES, by fining them for noncompliance if necessary, to force the players to stop messing around and play baseball


Yep. "Get in the damned box" an "Throw the damned ball" are all that matters. Games will keep getting slower until they do something about that.

Mound visits, step-offs, faux pickoff throws, and all the rest are annoyances, but they are not the key issue and would bother everyone a lot less if not for all the dicking around that pitchers and hitters do all the time.
   25. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5627071)
I can't ####### wait until a guy gets hurt badly because a team couldn't make a mound visit to check him out.

What happened last year with Reynaldo Lopez worries me. He was feeling some discomfort but wanted to prove to the club he was a strong rook and all that -- so the White Sox brass made a mound visit and he shooed them away. But after speaking in Spanish to Jose Abreu (after the manager and trainer had left and gone back to the dugout) he called them back out and after further discussion he was replaced and went on the DL with a strained stomach muscle.

So what if they couldn't have made that extra visit? He tries to tough it out and instead of a minor pull it turns into a tear and he's out months instead of weeks?

This is dumb and put me on the record as saying it's dumb.

If you want to speed up play convince the players it's in their best interest. Might be a hard sell but putting arbitrarily limits on things like mound visits are not helpful.

Mound visits, step-offs, faux pickoff throws, and all the rest are annoyances, but they are not the key issue and would bother everyone a lot less if not for all the dicking around that pitchers and hitters do all the time.


bingo.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5627076)
I've always suspected that longer games mean more beer, souvenirs, hot dog etc sales. I mean, it's not a suspicion, because it must be true. I guess the suspicion is that owners think this aspect of the issue is really important.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5627078)
I can't ####### wait until a guy gets hurt badly because a team couldn't make a mound visit to check him out.

This is dumb and put me on the record as saying it's dumb.


I'd be flabbergrastified if the rules did not include an exception for potential injuries.
   28. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5627082)
I'd be flabbergrastified if the rules did not include an exception for potential injuries.


Ah you're right:

Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings. Teams will receive an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound will count as a mound visit. Visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on an injury or potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. Also, normal communication between player and pitcher that do not require either to vacate their position on the field do not count as a visit. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher.


I should have RTFA.
   29. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 19, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5627090)
I've always suspected that longer games mean more beer, souvenirs, hot dog etc sales. I mean, it's not a suspicion, because it must be true. I guess the suspicion is that owners think this aspect of the issue is really important.


TV money is king. Concessions are nothing compared to the TV money. If there is ever meaningful change to the pace of play it will be because TV viewership declines.

You know what else is in play here, though? No one watches traditional TV commercials anymore. Everyone just changes the channel, or mutes it and does something else. Over the past two years short advertisements, with on-screen graphics and the play-by-play guy narrating, have greatly proliferated during NBA games--during free throws, the ten second lull after a whistle, sometimes even right after a basket, before the other team brings the ball up.

And that makes me wonder if a slow paced game is really viewed by the league office as a GOOD thing, because the next frontier of advertising money is exactly these sorts of advertisements. There are already a good number of them, but there's room for lots more.
   30. Internet Commenter Posted: February 19, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5627097)
I wonder how close to six the average number of mound visits per game was in 2017?
   31. bfan Posted: February 19, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5627109)
I'd be flabbergrastified if the rules did not include an exception for potential injuries.

Come on; if you are hurt, walk off the mound to the dugout and we will get a new pitcher in the game. You do not need a visit to escort you off of the mound. I do kind of agree with the poster above about rules gone crazy. We have a dang rule and early on we have to have the exception for the hurt and the misguided, so that 1 in 200 chance must then become discretionary enough that Tony LaRussa's progeny will drive a mack truck through it, with exceptions and creative ways to take advantage. If you are out of mound visits and you are hurt, walk off the mound into the dugout. The worst thing that happens is that you were not hurt, and you get to pitch tomorrow (assuming people who hit the 6 visit limit are not doing that with their starting pitcher. (No snark please about the worst thing that happens is that you were hurt, because if you were indeed hurt, you just got out of the game).














28. This is going to be state of the art wall
Posted: February 19, 2018
   32. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 19, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5627110)
the next frontier of advertising money is exactly these sorts of advertisements.

After watching the World Series and being subjected to FOX's between-batter ads, I think that "next" frontier of ads is already here.
   33. DaVoice of DaPeople Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5627139)
These are not enough for me. For the first time since 2012, I will not be renewing my MLBTV subscription.

This isn’t, like, virtue signaling or whatever. I just no longer like the product enough to spend money on it, and the biggest factor is the slow pace of play.
   34. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:15 PM (#5627141)

Okay, so I RTFA. It's long, designed to obfuscate that there are really only two changes: fewer limited mound visits, and slightly better enforce the between-innings clock. The mound visit cap -- (How many mound visits are typical in a game, anyway? Is a cap of six really going to do much?) -- really does potentially impact pace of game, but not enough. The other change is about slightly shorter games; it doesn't do anything about pace.
   35. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:27 PM (#5627144)
If you want to speed up play convince the players it's in their best interest. Might be a hard sell but putting arbitrarily limits on things like mound visits are not helpful.
I think "hard sell" undersells it. Is it in their best interest? Players aren't screwing around in between pitches for the fun of it; they genuinely think that extra time benefits them. And considering how difficult it'd be to measure the effect that time between pitches has on performance, you'd have a hard time proving them wrong. I can't think of a good way to sell the players on the idea that shorter games benefit them.

Totally naive question from someone who, admittedly, doesn't understand economics: Why is it necessarily more profitable for MLB to add 50 seconds between innings in the playoffs? What might be the response if MLB said "All inning breaks will last 2:05. We'll just charge you more for playoff ad time to make up the difference"? If I were MLB, I would point out to advertisers that brisker games will probably attract more viewers, and perhaps that they could use some of whatever sorcery the NFL has that makes people actually want to watch Super Bowl ads. Clearly there is some obvious reason here that I'm missing. What is it?
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5627146)
I can't think of a good way to sell the players on the idea that shorter games benefit them.

I can: "You'll have fewer automatic balls or strikes called against you if you stop screwing around. There's your benefit."
   37. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:40 PM (#5627147)
I can: "You'll have fewer automatic balls or strikes called against you if you stop screwing around. There's your benefit."
I agree with you on what needs to be done. But that's not getting players on board with the idea. That's getting the umps to enforce the rules that already exist.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: February 19, 2018 at 06:51 PM (#5627150)
I think "hard sell" undersells it. Is it in their best interest? Players aren't screwing around in between pitches for the fun of it; they genuinely think that extra time benefits them. And considering how difficult it'd be to measure the effect that time between pitches has on performance, you'd have a hard time proving them wrong. I can't think of a good way to sell the players on the idea that shorter games benefit them.


Shorter game = more time to chase tail after it. Seriously, a shorter workday for the same pay is typically an easy sell.

As to the on-field argument, since the pitcher thinks he needs extra time, and the batter thinks he needs extra time, baseball should try to sell him on the idea that speeding things up will really disadvantage that dawdling ########## on the other side.

   39. Greg Pope Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5627154)
The mound visit cap -- (How many mound visits are typical in a game, anyway? Is a cap of six really going to do much?) -- really does potentially impact pace of game, but not enough. The other change is about slightly shorter games; it doesn't do anything about pace.

If mound visits count everything, like the article says, then I would guess a lot more than 6. Willson Contreras might visit 6 times in the 8th inning alone of a close game.
   40. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5627155)
Shorter game = more time to chase tail after it. Seriously, a shorter workday for the same pay is typically an easy sell.
But say we'd like the average game time to drop 10 minutes, to 2:55. That's great for us fans. Is a player going to care if he gets to the bar 10 minutes later? I wouldn't, if I were them.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:28 PM (#5627158)
This isn’t, like, virtue signaling or whatever. I just no longer like the product enough to spend money on it, and the biggest factor is the slow pace of play.


Shocked and saddened to read this from one of the few Primate contributors that seems to still really enjoy watching baseball.

I let my MLB.tv subscription lapse, but it's because real life has limited my watching time to the point where it's not worth the money. I might watch two complete games in a year. I do spend the odd evening clicking around to try and catch the closest game. But it's not worth it.
   42. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5627160)
Willson Contreras might visit 6 times in the 8th inning alone of a close game.

He's the first player I thought of when I heard this. He's out at the mound at least once an inning.
   43. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:39 PM (#5627161)
But say we'd like the average game time to drop 10 minutes, to 2:55. That's great for us fans. Is a player going to care if he gets to the bar 10 minutes later? I wouldn't, if I were them.
Right. Cutting 15 minutes off a 3 hour game is a substantial reduction for a fan. But their day is a lot longer than that; 15 minutes off a 9-10 hour day is much less of a discount.

Also, getting home 15 minutes earlier when you have to be at work the next morning is nice; when you don't have to be at work until the next afternoon, it's less significant.
   44. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2018 at 07:44 PM (#5627163)
Is a player going to care if he gets to the bar 10 minutes later?

Where's Billy Martin when you need him?
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: February 19, 2018 at 08:59 PM (#5627193)
But say we'd like the average game time to drop 10 minutes, to 2:55. That's great for us fans. Is a player going to care if he gets to the bar 10 minutes later? I wouldn't, if I were them.


X 162. That's a nice chunk of time.
   46. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: February 19, 2018 at 09:32 PM (#5627203)
X 162. That's a nice chunk of time.
Assuming every player plays every game, which of course they won't, that's 27 hours per year. If you told the average player that by working an extra 2 hours and 15 minutes each month, he would become a better player, I think most would take it. Especially for the players for whom the difference between $545,000 a year and minimum wage might be that bit of extra work.
   47. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 19, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5627204)
The only argument that will ever persuade players to play more briskly is "we lost 30% of our peak revenue the past few years because fans have grown bored by our product, which led to this horrifying year-long strike/lockout, we both want more money, so for god's sake keep the pace up so fans stay interested and revenues rise again, yeah?" And that argument won't be made until after the revenues drop.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: February 19, 2018 at 10:11 PM (#5627210)
Assuming every player plays every game, which of course they won't, that's 27 hours per year. If you told the average player that by working an extra 2 hours and 15 minutes each month, he would become a better player, I think most would take it.


And that's when you point out that the guy on the other end of the pitcher/batter duel thinks the same damn thing. If you need the time, so does he. If it's taken away from you, it's taken away from him. So that 2:15 per month is being wasted.
   49. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: February 19, 2018 at 11:57 PM (#5627221)

I wonder how close to six the average number of mound visits per game was in 2017?


That's the question and I'm surprised more people aren't asking it. I have NO idea how many there are per game.
   50. Jay Z Posted: February 20, 2018 at 12:39 AM (#5627224)
Players are never going to be incentivized to speed up the pace of play. But they really don't have to be.

If you gave football teams 15 minutes to decide what play to call, would they take it? Yes. The rules of the sport don't allow for that.

Neither the pitcher or hitter should be given unlimited time to prepare. One is still going to win every battle and one will lose. That's not going to change if both have limits on their prep time.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: February 20, 2018 at 01:19 AM (#5627226)
I think in golf, they only start using the clock when someone complains.

just last week in LA, the PGA Tour event didn't finish before dark on Friday in spite of zero weather issues. I think 15 of the 144 players had to finish up Round 2 on Saturday morning, which is a PITA - and, frankly, unsporting in a sport that is obsessed with claims of sportsmanship.

it's quite a parallel to baseball - the athletes are taking longer and longer, and officials are afraid to enforce the sport's rules. the week before, a PGA golfer in Phoenix spent 4 full minutes waiting to see which way the wind would blow before deciding on his long second shot on the final, par-5 hole. even laid-back Western spectators actually heckled the guy - who, after all that, decided to lay up and basically guarantee that he had no shot to reach a share of first place.

there are times where players are "warned" about slow play, but I can't recall a star golfer ever being penalized for it.

it takes me back to my DVR comment. if the players won't play promptly, I enforce my own rules on my TV in both sports (ok, all sports).
   52. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5627263)
If mound visits count everything, like the article says, then I would guess a lot more than 6. Willson Contreras might visit 6 times in the 8th inning alone of a close game.


Yes, this rule should definitely be called the Contreras cap.

The man likes mound visits like extra L's in his name.
   53. jmurph Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5627279)
I wonder how close to six the average number of mound visits per game was in 2017?

I remain confused about why even a single non-manager/coach mound visit is allowed.
   54. BDC Posted: February 20, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5627291)
15 of the 144 players had to finish up Round 2 on Saturday morning

Have PGA Tour fields grown over the years? I really don't know, but part of the problem might be trying to get too many players through a given course.
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 20, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5627302)
What they really need is a variant on the Luxury Tax, where a team gets fined x amounts of dollars at the end of the season for every minute their average game goes over 2:50.

And if they complain, "Well, we had so many high scoring games", then show them this box score from a year when the RPG was higher than it is today. Note that the game lasted exactly 2 hours and 50 minutes.
   56. Howie Menckel Posted: February 20, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5627307)
Have PGA Tour fields grown over the years? I really don't know, but part of the problem might be trying to get too many players through a given course.

I don't think so. many of them have 156, in fact. but the increase in 6-hour rounds is causing problems - including making it more likely that even if all 75 or so finish on Sunday, there might no time for a playoff or only time for one extra hole.

events may have to consider smaller fields, which is actually more convenient for them (nobody cares about the last 25+ guys anyway, and you have a buffer for weather delays as well as slow play). the fringe players would squawk, but I'm not sure if the elite ones would care.
   57. kthejoker Posted: February 20, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5627337)
Chess has undergone an opposite evolution. Games used to be adjourned overnight. Now the world's best players frequently convene to play dozens of games where each player only has 1 minute total for all of their moves.

I am positive if a rogue league started right now that was 6 innings long and with hard rules to fit into a 2 hour TV slot that it would be pretty wildly popular.
   58. BDC Posted: February 20, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5627363)
The more I think, the less I like this six-visits-per-game rule. It's awkward and hard to keep track of (as some people have noted in this thread).

An earlier proposal, to make the second visit per inning (from anybody) a mandatory removal, was cleaner (even though it allows more visits per game). It also fits in with the long-established rule limiting visits from the bench.

But no fan wants to or cares about remembering whether the catcher previously made four or five visits in the game, or the strategic implications thereof. It's just awkwardness for the sake of awkwardness.

   59. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 20, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5627373)
What they really need is a variant on the Luxury Tax, where a team gets fined x amounts of dollars at the end of the season for every minute their average game goes over 2:50.

And if they complain, "Well, we had so many high scoring games", then show them this box score from a year when the RPG was higher than it is today. Note that the game lasted exactly 2 hours and 50 minutes.


Bill James actually proposed this solution a year or so ago, on his site. I think it would work.

I am positive if a rogue league started right now that was 6 innings long and with hard rules to fit into a 2 hour TV slot that it would be pretty wildly popular.


I don't know about "wildly popular" but I definitely think a notional Tempo League would find a profitable niche. About two years ago I wrote a long article on this very subject, which I never published; I'll have to go dig it up. But you're shooting too low: you can easily play nine innings in two hours, if you set that as a goal. It was routinely done with sky-high run scoring ninety years ago.

If I were to design a baseball league to compete against MLB and survive, it would be very high tempo with as few of the Three True Outcomes as possible. It would need to be recognizably baseball but different from MLB, and I think that's the best way to accomplish it.
   60. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 20, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5627393)
But no fan wants to or cares about remembering whether the catcher previously made four or five visits in the game, or the strategic implications thereof. It's just awkwardness for the sake of awkwardness.
Why do fans need to remember? Here's a conversation that no fans have ever had:

A: We need a mound visit now.
B: Yeah.

And here's the one they will continue never to have:

A: We need a mound visit now.
B: Yeah, but we can't because we've already used our six visits.

   61. BDC Posted: February 20, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5627410)
Why do fans need to remember?

That's exactly what I'm saying. But as Duke mentioned upthread, they have to tabulate it somehow.

I guess it won't be displayed on the public scoreboard. But in that case, you know there'll be at least one game a year where a pitching coach heads to the mound to discuss something highly momentous in his mind, and an umpire tosses the pitcher because that was the seventh visit, and an argument breaks out, and the TV replay shows all the previous visits, with mounting excitement, and maybe the umpire made a mistake in counting and it has to go to replay review, and did that one step forward that broke the plane of the catcher's box constitute a visit because the C left his normal position, and … ah nuts.
   62. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 20, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5627423)
they have to tabulate it somehow.

Can you train a wolverine, or at least an ill-tempered German Shepherd, to count to seven?
   63. DL from MN Posted: February 20, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5627431)
I'm sure players would be willing to play faster if you paid them to play faster. This could end some of the gripes about the lack of spending by the teams. Put $1M per team in a pot that only pays out if the average 9 inning game time for that team is less than 3 hours. I guarantee the peer pressure to work faster will keep things moving.
   64. Greg Pope Posted: February 20, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5627434)
And that argument won't be made until after the revenues drop.

Which may be too late. You will have lost a generation of fans. The kids who didn't grow up watching baseball because it's too boring. They won't all of a sudden be interested by speeding up the game.
   65. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 20, 2018 at 01:32 PM (#5627458)
I guess it won't be displayed on the public scoreboard. But in that case, you know there'll be at least one game a year where a pitching coach heads to the mound to discuss something highly momentous in his mind, and an umpire tosses the pitcher because that was the seventh visit, and an argument breaks out, and the TV replay shows all the previous visits, with mounting excitement, and maybe the umpire made a mistake in counting and it has to go to replay review, and did that one step forward that broke the plane of the catcher's box constitute a visit because the C left his normal position, and … ah nuts.

If I've learned anything from the NFL, it's that the catcher has to complete the action of the visit. Which is to say, he has to have 2 feet in the field of play and must be speaking clearly - throat clearing or hand gestures won't constitute a visit - unless it's after a scoring play, in which case he must complete his visit all the way to the mound.
   66. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 20, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5627467)
Put $1M per team in a pot that only pays out if the average 9 inning game time for that team is less than 3 hours. I guarantee the peer pressure to work faster will keep things moving.

I doubt it. If it pays out equally to everyone on the 40-man, that's $25K per player and no multi-million-dollar star is going to want to throw off his routine for what amounts to couch money.
   67. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: February 20, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5627518)
Been watching full telecasts of 1980 baseball games on youtube.

It really is amazing to see players stay in the batters box, pitchers getting the ball and getting back on the rubber instead of walking around, no 10-second pause for walk-up music. It is VERY noticeable.

But the biggest shock was the 60-second ad breaks. And when the break is done, the opposing pitcher is already done with his warmups. There are some instances where the other pitcher takes the mound BEFORE the first commercial even starts. No wonder I watched baseball so much back then!

Now I turn on a 2017: by the time the 2nd inning is done, 70 minutes have passed and the score is 1-0. At that point I start realizing that the game isn't going to end before 11:00 pm and I'm already mentally checking out. Then the same Miller or Comcast commercial comes on for the 7th time during the game and the annoyance makes me turn the set off and go to bed (and not want to buy the product).

Seems like one is apt to actually sit through the commercials instead of channel surfing if the break is short enough.
   68. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: February 20, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5627522)
They won't all of a sudden be interested by speeding up the game.


So let's do nothing and lose the next generation, too?
   69. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 20, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5627561)
This is the worst of all worlds. Bullshit complications to track, no actual affect on players playing the damn game.
   70. nick swisher hygiene Posted: February 20, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5627601)
Screwing around can't benefit ALL players: it's a zero-sum game, right? Assuming it's batters who think it benefits them, clock 'em, but throw them a bone to compensate: something that'll increase offense and action.

Hmmmmm--I'd regulate the hell out of stepping off, balk moves, throws to the bases. Given the current run environment, could you do enough to really meaningfully increase stolen bases?
   71. -- Posted: February 20, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5627612)
Which may be too late. You will have lost a generation of fans. The kids who didn't grow up watching baseball because it's too boring.


They've lost the urban 10-17 generation, who much prefer soccer.

It used to not be this way, but it's amazing that anyone can actually now claim with a straight face that soccer is more inherently boring than baseball. It's not even close. Prefer baseball to soccer, if you will, but please don't say it's less tedious -- because that's insane.

It really is amazing to see players stay in the batters box, pitchers getting the ball and getting back on the rubber instead of walking around, no 10-second pause for walk-up music. It is VERY noticeable.


I watched the first few innings of the first game of the 1979 World Series a few days ago, and they said Mike Flanagan was hitting 92 on the radar gun, which with today's measurement techniques is like 95-96. So please dispense with the absurd claim that pitchers need to wait around forever to be able to throw hard.

Now I turn on a 2017: by the time the 2nd inning is done, 70 minutes have passed and the score is 1-0. At that point I start realizing that the game isn't going to end before 11:00 pm and I'm already mentally checking out. Then the same Miller or Comcast commercial comes on for the 7th time during the game and the annoyance makes me turn the set off and go to bed (and not want to buy the product).


Having baseball just kind of playing on TV is part of the fabric of my summers, so I shelled out again for MLB TV -- but the sport has become unwatchable.

I'm just one customer, but the sport has lost thousands of dollars in revenue from me that it would be getting if it still played at, say, mid-80s pace. I had like a 30-game Nationals ticket package as late as 2005.(*) Today? No way.

(*) Average game time: 2:46. Not perfect, a little long -- but manageable and tolerable.

   72. -- Posted: February 20, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5627613)
If I've learned anything from the NFL, it's that the catcher has to complete the action of the visit. Which is to say, he has to have 2 feet in the field of play and must be speaking clearly - throat clearing or hand gestures won't constitute a visit - unless it's after a scoring play, in which case he must complete his visit all the way to the mound.


Yes, of course guys are going to keep walking halfway or two-thirds of the way to the mound to substitute for actually walking to the mound.

There is no need for any mound visits whatever. Prepare in advance. If you don't prepare well enough, tough ####.
   73. Greg Pope Posted: February 20, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5627648)
So let's do nothing and lose the next generation, too?

No, my point is that they should do something now. It's foolish for the owners to wait until revenue drops, which they appear to be doing.
   74. dejarouehg Posted: February 20, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5627660)
This is the worst of all worlds. Bullshit complications to track, no actual affect on players playing the damn game.
Precisely. There were so many obvious quick changes that should have been implemented. And if steeling signs is an issue, then let the players police themselves and figure out the solutions.

I think a big issue - and it may have been mentioned upthread - is that longer games probably make the teams more money in concessions and that people going to the games don't appear to be as irritated by the length of games as those watching on TV. Not sure I'm that different although when I go to a game and realize that David Price is pitching, or in the past - Josh Beckett or Steve Trachsel, I do/did have immediate regrets about leaving the house.

When I go to games, surprisingly there are still plenty of kids. Maybe it's because of Shake Shack, or the mascot. Who cares? Sooner or later, some of them will get it. Football's CTE issues, I think will continue to hurt the sport. I expect Hockey will become a little more popular. The NBA, for all its popularity, is based on on always having 4-5 dominant personalities. Without it, it's in trouble and it's much harder to make the NBA than any of the other sports. Soccer will have a place but those same ADD kids who don't like baseball will probably have similar issues with soccer.

Maybe by the process of elimination, kids will still play and watch baseball. The college showcases are still flooded with kids looking to continue playing - and the overwhelming majority of them understand how baseball scholarships work relative to hoops and football. So the showcases are not scholarship fests. To a small extent, as much as I want the game to go back to the 80's pace, I think this is a case of baseball putting itself under the electron microscope while the other sports, none of whom IMO, compare with baseball using a magnifying glass.

The players have made this about sabermetrics and that all the additional information that they have to process is part of what creates the extended times, not to mention the biggest culprit, pitching changes!

To a certain extent, I say f*** the youngsters who don't get it and would rather do their social media b.s. Maybe when they get older and wiser, they'll start enjoying baseball. I know it's probably a terrible analogy, but I grew up in a house where my mother blared opera and both my parents played classical music. Needless to say, we had a culture clash and the tolerable music was forced to reside in the confines of my bedroom. I remember thinking there is no way that opera and classical music will survive when I grow up........and yet they're still around and a ticket to the MET is pretty pricey.

   75. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 20, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5627699)
Yes, this rule should definitely be called the Contreras cap. The man likes mound visits like extra L's in his name.

Looks like he's not going to take this lying down, either. Contreras Vows To Defy Limit On Mound Visits:
Chicago Cubs starting catcher Willson Contreras isn't exactly on board for the new MLB pace-of-play rules, which include a limit on mound visits per game. Contreras is claiming he'll defy the rule which limits teams to six visits for the first nine innings of a game, minus a few exceptions.

"I don't even care," Contreras said Tuesday afternoon. "If I have to go [out there] again and pay the price for my team I will."

A direct challenge to the authority of the Commisioner? Got to be a lifetime ban, eh?
   76. BDC Posted: February 20, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5627704)
From Clapper's link:

commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB chief officer Joe Torre said umpires will simply tell a catcher or other player to return to his position if his team has used up its six visits. If a catcher defies that order and gets into an argument with an umpire, then an ejection could be in order


So it looks both Man o'Schwar and I were incorrect upthread in assuming that the seventh (and subsequent) visits would mean removing a pitcher. Instead we'll just have "asking you nicely" and arguments and "but we got crossed up, a mound visit is my inalienable right."
   77. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 20, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5627718)
Yeah, MLB is actually being pretty open about the fact that the Six Mound Visits Per Game "initiative" doesn't really mean anything and won't be enforced.
   78. dejarouehg Posted: February 20, 2018 at 07:44 PM (#5627747)
So it looks both Man o'Schwar and I were incorrect upthread in assuming that the seventh (and subsequent) visits would mean removing a pitcher. Instead we'll just have "asking you nicely" and arguments and "but we got crossed up, a mound visit is my inalienable right."


I heard Manfred specifically state that the consequence was removal of the pitcher.
   79. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 20, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5627748)
commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB chief officer Joe Torre said umpires will simply tell a catcher or other player to return to his position if his team has used up its six visits. If a catcher defies that order and gets into an argument with an umpire, then an ejection could be in order

That's so stupid. The remedy is built right into the rule - 6 non-pitching change mound visits per game. By logical extension, every visit after that would require a pitching change, otherwise it would violate the rule.

I don't even know why they bother. Just let the games run for 5 hours. Give the pitcher a 30-second arm rubdown after every pitch. Unlimited timeouts, unlimited stepoffs, unlimited visits, unlimited everything. It's apparently what everyone but the fans wants.
   80. dejarouehg Posted: February 20, 2018 at 08:18 PM (#5627758)
Well I'll be damned if I'm going to let this stupidity ruin the season for me, though I was really pumped for a pitch clock.

I will continue to live by the mantra that a bad day of baseball beats a good day of almost anything else and focus on my personal baseball goal.......get to watch Trout/Harper/Lindor in their ballparks this year.
   81. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 20, 2018 at 08:43 PM (#5627766)
Personally, I'm looking forward to Joe West tackling Willson Contreras from behind as he tries to make an illegal 7th mound trip. It'd be even better if Joe miscounts.
   82. Rob_Wood Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:17 PM (#5627777)
Or if Joe West thinks the max is 1 (and refuses to be talked out of that belief)!
   83. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5627780)
C.B. Bucknor won't miscount mound visits. He will just fail to see them actually take place.
   84. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5627787)
Yeah, MLB is actually being pretty open about the fact that the Six Mound Visits Per Game "initiative" doesn't really mean anything and won't be enforced.
Yeah, the "crossed up" exception is possibly the stupidest part of the whole thing. It's not like -- AFAIK -- catchers are typically going to the mound to discuss last night's Game of Thrones episode. They're going there to discuss the pitches. So the exception swallows the rule.
   85. Internet Commenter Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:43 PM (#5627788)
The only argument that will ever persuade players to play more briskly is "we lost 30% of our peak revenue the past few years because fans have grown bored by our product, which led to this horrifying year-long strike/lockout, we both want more money, so for god's sake keep the pace up so fans stay interested and revenues rise again, yeah?" And that argument won't be made until after the revenues drop.

I think it's going to be, "Now that Boomers are dying/going senile in growing numbers every year, we're totally ###### because Millennials aren't replacing them as paying customers. Time to make a bunch of reactionary changes to alienate the remaining fans!"
   86. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5627789)
I think it's going to be, "Now that Boomers are dying/going senile in growing numbers every year, we're totally ###### because Millennials aren't replacing them as paying customers. Time to make a bunch of reactionary changes to alienate the remaining fans!"


I'm an older millenial that sometimes watches games with younger ones or people that aren't baseball fans. One of the most frequent questions is "isn't this really slow"? My response is "even people that really like baseball consider it slow paced and boring at times". Of course over 162 games and a spring, summer and fall the beauty is (at times) in the languid pace -- both of the games and season.
   87. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 20, 2018 at 11:07 PM (#5627805)
Football's slower, and people think it's fast. I guess that's because there's a clock running between plays some of the time, so baseball could apparently solve the pace of play issue by having a 30-second clock run between pitches even if the pitcher takes that long to throw them.
   88. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:15 AM (#5627829)
Football's slower, and people think it's fast. I guess that's because there's a clock running between plays some of the time, so baseball could apparently solve the pace of play issue by having a 30-second clock run between pitches even if the pitcher takes that long to throw them.
Football has a pace of play issue too, but it's somewhat compensated for by the fact that the plays themselves are fast. Yeah, a lot of down time, but when the snap happens, you have 22 people scrambling all over the place. In baseball, there's down time, but when the pitch happens, it may be... a ball. So then you reset, wait all that time for the next pitch, and you get... a pop up into the seats behind home plate. It would be the equivalent of, in football, a run up the middle for one yard on almost every snap, with most possessions going three-and-out. Don't get me wrong; I like the batter-pitcher matchup and watching the plate appearance develop -- but it's not fast.

And of course the other thing about football is that there are 16 games, mostly on a Sunday afternoon. Not 162, mostly on weeknights. Sitting at the park in the sun on a Sunday afternoon, watching a lazy ballgame can be awesome. Not quite as nice is sitting in the recliner on a Sunday afternoon doing the same, but it's still great. Sitting there on a Tuesday night, not so much.
   89. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:38 AM (#5627831)
It would be the equivalent of, in football, a run up the middle for one yard on almost every snap, with most possessions going three-and-out.


Also known as a Bo Schembechler wet dream.
   90. Greg Pope Posted: February 21, 2018 at 08:35 AM (#5627867)
Football has a pace of play issue too, but it's somewhat compensated for by the fact that the plays themselves are fast. Yeah, a lot of down time, but when the snap happens, you have 22 people scrambling all over the place.

Also, though, no matter what the play is, you have immediate replay and analysis. So, at least at home, you're not just sitting there waiting for the next snap. I guess they don't replay the 1 yard runs up the middle every time, but if it's a pass play, they are guaranteed to replay it a couple of times. And then they can return to the next snap.

Baseball doesn't have that.
   91. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 21, 2018 at 08:39 AM (#5627869)
I agree, of course, with everything David says also. But it's always been confusing to me that football didconsist largely of short runs,with a majority of drives being fairly brief and ending in punts, during the time when it rolled up its vast popularity. I suppose it continued to build popularity after it became more passing-oriented, but it's biggest increase of popularity came from the 50s through the 70s.

After all this time, I'm not totally opposed to a clock in baseball. It would be better than limiting mound visits. Or just go to a six-inning format. It's still a multiple of three, so it would be marginally better than seven.

   92. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: February 21, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5628110)
The half hour of dead time between pitches that's crept in over the past 30 years could have largely been done away with by now if the 2015 directives had simply been enforced past April. Instead, Manfred and Clark patted themselves on the back for cutting out over eight minutes of padding that first month and did away with the penalties that were slated to begin May 1.

Everything proposed or implemented since has been a sideshow. Catcher mound visits join the intentional walk on the list of Things That Are Not the Problem.
   93. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5628115)
Catcher mound visits join the intentional walk on the list of Things That Are Not the Problem.

Clearly you did not watch a minute of last year's postseason.
   94. -- Posted: February 21, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5628149)
I'm an older millenial that sometimes watches games with younger ones or people that aren't baseball fans. One of the most frequent questions is "isn't this really slow"?


I took my son to a Yankees/A's game in 2012, when he was 7 and he had a good time. Extra innings, probably ran over 4 hours.

In 2015, he was 10, and had gotten really into both playing and watching soccer and I took him to Yankees/Blue Jays on a beautiful summer Saturday. About a half hour in (probably the second inning), he decided to start with the "Do you realize if this was a soccer match, the first half would be almost over by now?" routine. He repeated the same question structure maybe three or four times as the game ... uh ... progressed. By the fifth inning, he wanted out and I kind of did, too, and we left.
   95. -- Posted: February 21, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5628154)
Or just go to a six-inning format. It's still a multiple of three, so it would be marginally better than seven.


I'd be fine if they made games seven innings. In addition to the shorter games, it would have the advantage of having the vast majority of pitches in major league games again thrown by pitchers most fans actually know.(*)

High school and a bunch of college games are seven innings.

In terms of the record books, it would effectively make every season like 1981, to which I would reply: BFD.

(*) Which just reiterates that it's not a single thing baseball has a problem with. It's not just that the games are slow and tedious; it's that it also takes forever to get into the stadium now because of security theater. It's not just that the games are slow and tedious; it's that by the sixth inning every night, a couple anonymous nobodies start warming up in the bullpen even though a star pitcher is doing just fine on the mound, because the star pitcher is going to leave the game three innings before it's over in favor of an anonymous nobody. Etc., etc.
   96. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5628305)
There are two primary reasons that I've drifted into being far more interested in OOTP (a detailed baseball simulation game) than in watching MLB, and they're intermingled and may be summarized as: when games are close in the late innings, that is when they're supposed to be at their most compelling, they're at their least compelling.

The starting pitchers are gone and mostly the pitchers in the 6th through 8th inning are guys I've never heard of and don't care about. That sucks.

Worse, there are constant stops to the action: besides the always aggravating stepping out after every pitch, and the pitcher looking at a base and stepping off over and over, there's also the catcher coming out every other pitch, mid-inning pitching changes (the problem here is that managers only bother with one-out relievers when the game is close)... there's no rhythm, no tempo, no pace. The excitement of a down-to-the-wire game isn't sustained and doesn't build on itself because the action is so irregular.

That's me; not saying you have to feel that way. I've always had a similar problem with basketball: it takes a half hour to play the last four minutes of a close game because of all the timeouts and it usually becomes more of a free throw contest than a basketball game. In the past three years the advent of online streaming has solved that problem for me: now I just watch the games that were played yesterday, skip over every stoppage with one keypress, and watch the whole game in an hour or less. It's WONDERFUL.

No service yet exists that just allows you to watch yesterday's games and skip to the next pitch with a click. But if one did, I'd pay a lot of money to use it. There's the condensed games on MLB.tv, but I do want to see every pitch; I just don't want to see all the ####### standing around.
   97. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5628310)
Somehow this got missed....

For those that don't want to click the link, there is this guy called Rich Eisen(I think he's a talk radio guy) anyway, according to him, some MLB executive has stated that MLB has floated around an idea that in the ninth inning the trailing team could choose any three batters it has on the roster to leadoff the ninth......
   98. Man o' Schwar Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:19 PM (#5628311)
For those that don't want to click the link, there is this guy called Rich Eisen(I think he's a talk radio guy) anyway, according to him, some MLB executive has stated that MLB has floated around an idea that in the ninth inning the trailing team could choose any three batters it has on the roster to leadoff the ninth......

We may have a new leader in the clubhouse for worst idea.
   99. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5628312)
We may have a new leader in the clubhouse for worst idea.


General consensus throughout the internet is that it is quite possibly one of the worst ideas that Manfred has considered.
   100. -- Posted: February 21, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5628331)
The idea smacks of complete desperation. The fundamental numbers Manfred is seeing must be pretty bad. Only 7 percent of his TV audience is under 18 and his average viewer's age has gone from 52 to 57 in just the last ten years.

I think he juiced the ball to try to appeal to highlights viewers and this new idea also smacks of faux excitement and forced waiting around until the "good parts." Other than kind of with HRs, baseball and modern viewing devices simply don't go together well.
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