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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

MLB making small changes to pitch clock rules, memo says

• On brushback pitches and “big swings”—which either knock equipment out of place or land a player splayed out on the ground—umpires will delay the start of the clock and, if the clock operator starts it early, have the ability to wave off the timer…

• In situations where pitchers find themselves away from the mound—whether to cover first base or back up throws to home or third base in foul territory—the 30-second between-batters clock will be delayed. It restarts when the pitcher making a play at first is back on the infield grass and one backing plays up is in fair territory.

• Leniency for catchers who end an inning on base or at-bat. Umpires could turn off the 2-minute, 30-second between-innings clock at the 30-second mark if the catcher has made a “reasonable effort” to abide by the timer. If it reaches that point, a catcher will be allowed to receive one warmup pitch from the pitcher and make a throw down to second base to ensure he, too, has warmed up his arm.

• Placing the onus on hitters to restart the clock if they take a timeout. Hitters may call time once in an at-bat, and previously the clock was starting from 15 or 20 when players stepped into the batter’s box and were alert, leading to pitchers potentially holding the ball for long periods of time. Under the new guidelines, a player, regardless of where he is standing, must indicate to an umpire that he is ready to resume play, at which point the umpire will tell the operator to wind the clock.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2023 at 12:54 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: defensive shift, pitch clock, review

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 22, 2023 at 02:29 PM (#6121080)
"Sorry Billy, you dawdled a bit on that foul ball, you're fired, get your #### out of here."
   2. Greg Pope Posted: March 22, 2023 at 03:57 PM (#6121084)
First three are fine and logical. For the first one I'd define it something like "if the batter unintentionally leaves the batter's box". But these are fine.

I don't even really understand the last one. "Placing the onus"? This seems to give more time to the batters, doesn't it? They get to decide. And why did the original rule lead to "pitchers potentially holding the ball for long periods of time"? Is that supposed to be better for the pitcher or the batter? And how does the change help?
   3. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: March 22, 2023 at 05:30 PM (#6121090)
Sigh. They're going to slowly walk it all the way back. Really discouraging.

edit: I realize that's a very pessimistic post. We can hope my pessimism is unwarranted. But many years' experience has led me to "I'll believe it when I've seen it, consistently, for several years" when it comes to MLB prioritizing what fans want over what players want.
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 22, 2023 at 06:21 PM (#6121092)
Sigh. They're going to slowly walk it all the way back. Really discouraging.

No, your pessimism is definitely not unwarranted. They are going to add a few seconds here, a few seconds there and the 20 or so minutes they seem to be getting saved in wasted time will be cut down to like 5 minutes and we'll end up with the same ponderous pace of time wasting between pitches we had before.( I believe a meandering, ill conceived, run on sentence was most appropriate to describe what will surely happen)
   5. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 22, 2023 at 06:46 PM (#6121094)
I was going to say the same thing as in 3, but I stopped myself. Then I read 3. Then I was going to same thing as in 4. I stopped myself. Then I read 4.

At least we're all having the same doubts, so it means we're not crazy. At least not in this respect.
   6. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: March 22, 2023 at 07:16 PM (#6121097)
Let me try to write out what I'm feeling as I've watched spring training, and why I wrote #3.

What's already noticeably happening as spring training wears on--I've been watching about a game a day--is that, while the clock is still being enforced, they're starting to take their time about starting it. It's still lickety-split on pitches that hit the catcher's mitt cleanly and don't end the at bat. But any foul ball, pitch in the dirt, throw to a base, etc., the batter and pitcher are both being allowed to take their sweet time settling back in before the clock begins.

And these seemingly small tweaks MLB has announced suggest that MLB is yielding the point, in that regard. If MLB declines to crack down on it, the players and umpires will continue wedging more and more wasted time into those spaces. The certain result is that while, yes, technically there is still a pitch clock and it is enforced if it runs down to 0, the game times will creep back toward 3 hours anyway as players are allowed to stand around doing nothing for a while before the clock is started, a hundred times per game.

Nothing less than a strong and public policy directive to umpires to start the clock immediately when the catcher receives the ball (from the pitcher or from the umpire) will prevent this from happening. But with the announcement of these seemingly innocuous adjustments, MLB is instead making weak and public allowances in the other direction. It's easy to see where that road leads.
   7. Zach Posted: March 22, 2023 at 07:39 PM (#6121099)
Sigh. They're going to slowly walk it all the way back. Really discouraging.

I get the opposite from this. They're adjusting nitpicky details that were unfair in practice without altering the basic principle of "batter must be ready to hit, pitcher must pitch within a short amount of time".
   8. The Duke Posted: March 22, 2023 at 08:28 PM (#6121104)
I'm with 7. The cards announcers have been specifically mentioning some of these issues and I'm not surprised they've adjusted a bit. These are big changes to make without ever having tried them - it was inevitable there would be some tweaks. As to the game slowly reverting to form over time - I think that also will happen. Games will get a bit longer over a 5-10 year period. And then they'll do some things to pull it back im.

I'm most surprised they haven't added an extra 30-60 seconds between half innings. That's what I would do. Generate a lot more ad revenue and give both tv and in-stadium fans more time between innings.
   9. KronicFatigue Posted: March 22, 2023 at 09:34 PM (#6121110)
I think I agree with all these comments, even the ones that contradict the other ones! I don't think games will get a bit longer over 5-10 years. I think there might be some small creeping within a season, but then that will be readdressed each offseason. And ultimately, over the long haul, players will adapt their expectations. The young guys who grow up with with the clock won't have the delay tactics in their routine
   10. Walt Davis Posted: March 22, 2023 at 10:17 PM (#6121115)
I take the 2nd bullet point as the Rich Hill (not Memorial yet!) rule. Still, on the grass/fair territory is a long way from the mound so this still seems like a good bit of giddy-up to me. The potential issue is how long will Rich Hill take catching his breath in foul territory? Put in a clause tht the ump can also start the clock if the pitcher is dawdling and it's all good.

I don't understand the 4th bullet -- doesn't this mean the batter can waste as much time as he wants, cooling off the pitcher? Can't he not "indicate" until he is standing in the box and alert which saves no time at all?

I do like the idea of an operator winding a giant clock but it would waste a lot of time.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: March 22, 2023 at 10:40 PM (#6121118)
I'm liking the fact that they are tweaking, in the past previous seasons, they would enact enforcement of the rules, and then as the season went along, they would slowly disintegrate with nobody saying much about them. This is a full acknowledgment that the rules still exist, but that the league is willing to look at modifying as they move forward. This is not a bad thing, 24 minute drop in playing time in one season was already extreme, the goal was never that big of a drop, the goal was to force a natural pace to the game, that still acknowledges the inherent play of the game. Let's tweak, not break what is going on.
   12. Tin Angel Posted: March 23, 2023 at 12:47 AM (#6121127)
I do like the idea of an operator winding a giant clock but it would waste a lot of time.

Then put a clock on that guy too.
   13. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: March 23, 2023 at 07:37 AM (#6121134)
Re 12: And put a clock on that guy, too, and a clock on the next guy, and the's clocks all the way down.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 23, 2023 at 10:41 AM (#6121149)
The clarification I thought was interesting was the ‘off-sides rule’ on infield shifts. I wasn’t aware that replay review could check to see if an infielder had a heel on the outfield grass. They can, is, but only for the player who first fields the ball.

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