Pace of the game

A few initiatives will be tested in the fall leagues and I am not sure whether I like them all.

Hey, we all agree the pace of the game needs to be addressed, right? Games are way too long now (well, I don’t know ’em any other way) and it would be nice if things could be sped up a little bit. Now outgoing commissioner Bud Selig introduced a few initiatives which will be tested in the fall leagues. Among those are:

  • A hitter must keep one foot inside the batter’s box throughout his plate appearance.
  • Intentional walks will no longer include the pitcher lobbing four balls outside the strike zone.
  • There will be a maximum break of two minutes and five seconds between innings, with hitters required to be in the batter’s box by the one minute and 45 seconds mark.
  • There will be a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds allowed for pitching changes, including those that occur during an inning break.
  • Each team will be permitted three “timeout” conferences covering any meeting involving pitchers and catchers, managers, coaches and batters.

There’s one more initiative which will see Rule 8.04 be enforced more strictly. That one will only be done at Salt River home games. They will have a clock on display there. And that’s where I am starting to dislike the idea.

See, I’m all for speeing up the game and especially I’m all for enforcing rules already in existence (such as Rule 8.04). But I really dislike the idea of a clock being used to referee the game. Baseball’s charme is that there is no clock. The pace of the game, as slow as it might be, is what makes this game so great. I just cannot bring myself to imagine a clock on display right next to balls and strikes and the inning and the pitch count and so on. And then when the pitcher is taking to long a sound like a hockey siren will go off? Please, no. Here’s what I’d like them to do.

  • Enforce Rule 8.04 and leave it to the umpire. If the umpire feels the pitcher is taking to long, give the umpire the right to warn the pitcher. If the pitcher doesn’t comply, warn him one more time. If he then is still taking to long, call a ball.
  • Apply the same rule to the hitters. If they a re constantly walking out of the batters box, call them back and warn them. Then apply the same protocol as to the pitchers and call a strike if they don’t follow orders.
  • Make teams take the field more quickly. You don’t need to linger in the dugout. It’s not as if the third out is coming as a huge surprise.
  • I really like the limiting of mound conferences though. That should take quite some time of the length of the game.

So, please, speed it up, but spare us the clock. Leave that to other sports.

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