Changes may be coming to baseball. Baseball is a slow game, both its supporters and detractors will admit that with fans saying the slow, steady pace is a positive, and detractors saying it’s boring. Heck it may have helped propel the sport to its standing as national past time in the late 19th/early 20th century as this slow, pastoral sport provided an easy escape from a rapidly industrializing and quickening world. Well MLB has decided the game has become too leisurely and want things sped up with several steps being tested out. It should be noted that by decreasing the time, the game is getting back to length it use to. Baseball games in the modern era have become longer, the average game is now about 3 hours, 40 minutes longer than in 1950m, due to a combination of both trying to squeeze in advertising between innings as well as conduct of the game and players.
By: Kels Dayton
Acting at a rate similar to Congress or a senior golf outing, Major League Baseball has finally decided to do something about its pressing pace-of-game issues, having adopted six experimental rules that it will test out during the Arizona Fall League beginning this October.
MLB has fallen behind the NFL and the NBA in popularity in recent years, and many fans point to the nineteenth-century quaintness that accompanies the way the game is played as a major reason why. Everything takes forever, and in an age when you can send a Tweet to someone a continent away in the time it takes for Bartolo Colon to get the sign for a fastball, that’s a problem.
Some of these rules changes are no-brainers, like the first one on the list. But some of them are more radical. Hopefully, MLB will adopt some of these, and help bring the game into the 21st century.
1. Hitters must keep one foot in the batter’s box at all times. No more adjusting your jock strap after every pitch, no more fixing the helmet, shooting snot rockets out between pitches, or going full Nomar on everyone.
OUR TAKE: This is a good change, and honestly should have been made in the majors years ago. There’s no reason not to make this change. Hopefully this one sticks.
2. Pitchers must throw a pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the ball. Pitch clocks posted up in each dugout will count down the seconds.
OUR TAKE: This one is more of a fundamental change to the game, but it’s not a terrible idea. The main concern would be whether or not the pitcher and catcher will have enough time go through their series of signs without feeling rushed. This would also mean the pitcher wouldn’t have the opportunity to run through the signs again if he misses one. But still, we could get behind this change.
3. The break between innings will be a maximum of 2:05. A clock will keep track of the time. It’s unclear how this might affect commercial breaks, especially during nationally televised games. The batter must be in the box at the 1:45 mark, and if he’s not there, the umpire will have the option to call a strike.
OUR TAKE: This is a good change, except if you want to make a beer and nachos run in between innings at the ballpark. No other sport allows for as much in-game practice team, which is nonsense because major league infielders don’t need to take ground balls in between innings. The fewer the commercials, the shorter the warmup time, the better for fans.
4. Teams will have a maximum of 2:30 to change pitchers. The clock will start as soon as the reliever enters the playing field.
OUR TAKE: This can easily be countered by managers having longer conversations with their pitchers on the mound, or taking an hour and a half to walk out to the mound in the first place. This isn’t the most necessary of changes, but it’s not a bad one, either.
5. Teams are allowed a maximum of three mound visits per game, not including pitching changes.
OUR TAKE: Seems straightforward enough. Why are we not already doing this?
6. Pitchers no longer have to deliver four balls for an intentional walk. They’ll just go video-game style, motioning to the umpire that they’re going to put the batter on, and then having the batter teleport himself to first base like a Star Trek maneuver.
OUR TAKE: This is a good change, too. Sure, it eliminates things like this:
But for the most part, that never happened anyway. An intentional walk is like an extra point in football–it’s automatic, and it feels archaic to have to go through the motions every time anyway.