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Thursday, January 18, 2018

MLB’s plan on how they can make baseball games at least 10 minutes shorter

From Jeff Passan:

Major League Baseball plans to implement a pitch clock and stricter rules on mound visits in the 2018 season, according to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports that outlines the changes, with the MLB Players Association expected to reject an agreement the league offered.

After the MLBPA declined a similar proposal last year, the league threatened to unilaterally impose a timer between pitches, batters and innings, as well severely limit mound visits without the union’s consent, as is its right. The average time of game swelled to a record 3 hours, 8 minutes last season. Officials believe a pitch clock can shave at least 10 minutes off game time.

Lots of details in the article.

Greg Pope Posted: January 18, 2018 at 10:06 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: time of game

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   1. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5610053)
So, according to the article, the league proposed it last offseason, but it didn't get approved. Since the union also wouldn't agree this year, the league can impose the rules. I don't understand why, but it looks like this is happening.
   2. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5610054)
I didn't want to excerpt the whole article, but one important point is that the clock exists both with bases empty and runners on. But the pitcher can reset the clock by stepping off the rubber.
   3. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5610056)
One more thing. Batters have to be in the box during the first 5 seconds of the clock. Which doesn't really leave them time to step out and adjust their batting gloves.
   4. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5610060)
Given that any attempted solution will inevitably be watered down anyways, I'd have gone for lopping 30 minutes off the average game time as the goal.
   5. BDC Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5610065)
the clock exists both with bases empty and runners on

Since it stops when the pitcher starts his windup, which I assume also means that it starts when he begins his motion to throw to first base … seems like there will be some gaming of the whole thing in practice that we may not be able to foresee entirely right now.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5610069)
I'm shocked that the introduction of the auto-IBB didn't fix the problem.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 20, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5610071)
Wouldn't it be easier to just bring back amphetamines? Things moved quicker when everyone was drinking the spiked coffee. Coincidence?
   8. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5610080)
Since it stops when the pitcher starts his windup, which I assume also means that it starts when he begins his motion to throw to first base … seems like there will be some gaming of the whole thing in practice that we may not be able to foresee entirely right now.

I do see some potential for abuse here. But it's a start. In theory this stops all of the wandering around the mound for 30 seconds between pitches. Although the catcher could possibly just wait to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

And, as usual, we will need to see enforcement from the umpires if this is to actually work.
   9. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5610081)
Just enforcing the rules already on the books could have shaved at least as much time off games. Since previous efforts to enforce those rules failed miserably, why should we expect any better results with new rules?
   10. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5610082)
Yeah, even more pointless tosses to first is just what baseball needs. Problem solved! Let's go get drunk.
   11. BDC Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5610086)
In any case, making catcher/infielder mound visits equivalent to visits from the bench (in terms of jeopardy for pitcher removal) is overdue and welcome.
   12. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5610096)
In any case, making catcher/infielder mound visits equivalent to visits from the bench (in terms of jeopardy for pitcher removal) is overdue and welcome.

This is the one that I find a little extreme. Although any other solution is probably too complicated, so I don't have a better idea. Clearly something needed to be done about mound visits.
   13. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5610099)
Yeah, even more pointless tosses to first is just what baseball needs. Problem solved! Let's go get drunk.

The pitchers don't have to throw over, they just have to step off the rubber. But the article says that the clock resets when they step off. So I assume it goes back to 20 and starts immediately. The batters won't have time to leave the box and the pitchers will have to pretty much get back on the rubber right away.

So there's potential for continued delays, but I'm optimistic.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5610100)
But the pitcher can reset the clock by stepping off the rubber.

…which pretty much defeats the entire purpose.

Edit: Anti-Coke to Greg?
   15. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 20, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5610109)
But the pitcher can reset the clock by stepping off the rubber.


Only with runners on base, right? I think this should be a big help. The key to the whole thing is to change the culture. Make the expectation be a quicker pace and players will adjust to a quicker pace.
   16. Buck Coats Posted: January 20, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5610113)
They've been using these rules in the minors for a couple seasons now right? Presumably if these were obviously flawed they'd have seen those in the minors
   17. Greg Pope Posted: January 20, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5610114)
Only with runners on base, right? I think this should be a big help.

Article doesn't specifically say that, but that would be the best solution.

However, even without that, you're right in that you have to change the culture, and (assuming the umpires enforce), I think this does that. They have to go through the motions of being ready to pitch. Sure, they can step off the rubber, step on, get 20 more seconds, step off again, and get themselves a total of 60 seconds. But I don't think they will. The whole routine now of stomping around the mound, pacing, looking everywhere, etc. is supposed to be the pitcher's way of settling down, thinking about the next pitch, etc. But going to the mound three times will disrupt that. They'll have to be ready. Plus, the batter will be standing the box the whole time.

Again, every positive thing I'm saying is dependent on enforcement.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: January 20, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5610121)
Is there going to be a visible pitch clock?

I was initially opposed to such a thing, but at this point, whatever it takes.
   19. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5610129)
If they were serious about this they would simply lop off three innings. It would reduce the need for 13 to 14 man pitching staffs, that's for sure
   20. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 20, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5610145)
Dear Commissioner Manfred,
Baseball games have too many innings. Please remove three.
PS, I am not a crackpot.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 20, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5610171)
If they were serious about this they would simply lop off three innings. It would reduce the need for 13 to 14 man pitching staffs, that's for sure

Nope. They just wouldn't let anyone go through the order more than once.
   22. Bote Man Posted: January 20, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5610172)
Hoo-rah.
   23. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: January 20, 2018 at 07:19 PM (#5610254)
Get in the damn box, and stay there.
Throw the damn ball.
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 20, 2018 at 09:48 PM (#5610298)
How about just start the games at 6:55 instead of 7:10?
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: January 21, 2018 at 01:41 AM (#5610342)
In any case, making catcher/infielder mound visits equivalent to visits from the bench (in terms of jeopardy for pitcher removal) is overdue and welcome.

This is the one that I find a little extreme.

I'd like you to meet a certain Yankees catcher.....
   26. Leroy Kincaid Posted: January 21, 2018 at 05:53 AM (#5610344)
Get in the damn box, and stay there.
Throw the damn ball.


Stay the f!@k behind the plate.
   27. Greg Pope Posted: January 21, 2018 at 09:45 AM (#5610357)
I'd like you to meet a certain Yankees catcher.....

Hey, I'm a Cubs fan, I'm well aware of the issue. I didn't say that it wasn't a problem, I said it was a bit extreme.

My point is that anything else is probably too complicated. I'd prefer a limit of something like 3 visits. Or allowing one each of coach visit, catcher visit, and infield visit. But keeping track of those aren't practical, so I don't have an alternate solution.
   28. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 21, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5610359)
Just change the rules to awarding the win to whatever team is ahead after 2 hours.
   29. bunyon Posted: January 21, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5610360)
There will be a game in April where a pitcher is cruising but they screw up and get a second visit in the inning, probably to discuss wedding gifts.

I hope I'm watching when that happens.
   30. Greg Pope Posted: January 21, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5610423)
There will be a game in April where a pitcher is cruising but they screw up and get a second visit in the inning, probably to discuss wedding gifts.

I hope I'm watching when that happens.


I would think most teams would just tell their fielders that they can't conference at all, to avoid a mistake. Get in the habit in spring training.
   31. KronicFatigue Posted: January 21, 2018 at 03:53 PM (#5610435)
A step in the right direction, but that step might delay fixing the bigger problem: too many TTO. Walks are boring, and Homers and K's become less exciting the more common they are. Putting the ball in play more will speed the game. There needs to be some combination of rule changes that encourages contact. Perhaps a bigger strikezone, lowered mound, and less pitching changes. The game would feel faster if things were actually happening.
   32. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 21, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5610541)
I would think most teams would just tell their fielders that they can't conference at all, to avoid a mistake. Get in the habit in spring training.


This would be smart. Not quite the same but about 15 years ago the NHL implemented strict no tolerance on hooking and grabbing. Lindy Ruff, the Buffalo coach at the time, ran his training camp blowing the whistle and stopping play every single time someone did something that would qualify. The players were ready to kill him by the end of the camp.

3 guesses as to who the least penalized team in the league was that year and the first two don’t count.
   33. Endless Trash Posted: January 21, 2018 at 06:49 PM (#5610605)
Wait, what? The automatic intentional walk didn't fix this?
   34. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 21, 2018 at 07:12 PM (#5610613)
3 guesses as to who the least penalized team in the league was that year and the first two don’t count.
The Devils? The Rangers? Wait, I don't know three NHL teams.
   35. dlf Posted: January 21, 2018 at 07:51 PM (#5610629)
I'm not sure why there is all this talk of Manfred unilaterally implementing rules or adding a pitch clock. Why not just enforce Rule 8.04?

(8.04) Pitcher Delays
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”

The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.

The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
   36. McCoy Posted: January 21, 2018 at 07:55 PM (#5610635)
I think to save time they should also implement the automatic strikeout. So whenever heyward walks up to the plate all the opposing manager had to do is hold up three fingers and the ump declares heyward out. Would shave about 10 minutes each game
   37. bunyon Posted: January 22, 2018 at 07:12 AM (#5610759)
I would think most teams would just tell their fielders that they can't conference at all, to avoid a mistake. Get in the habit in spring training.

Of course. But you can't undo a lifetime of habit in one spring training or changing positions would be no big deal. Someone will forget and screw up.

I think to save time they should also implement the automatic strikeout. So whenever heyward walks up to the plate all the opposing manager had to do is hold up three fingers and the ump declares heyward out. Would shave about 10 minutes each game

Awesome.
   38. Batman Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5610805)
I'm shocked that the introduction of the auto-IBB didn't fix the problem.
The auto-K is the next phase, where any team that decides to strike a hitter out can just wave him off the field. Games will get longer, but they will involve more innings per hour.
   39. shoewizard Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5610808)
I linked this post last year too. It's the relief pitching
   40. Tim M Posted: January 23, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5611854)
I watched a lot of AA ball last year, and never saw any problem w/ the clock. Other than 1 time "hey, there's the clock, how bout that", you quickly forget it's there, and never notice it again. It's not big & prominent, just kinda tucked above the RF wall. Any big problem with it would have been exposed in the minors by now, so i say bring it on.

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