Today Major League Baseball announced that they will implement several pace of play initiatives for the 2018 season. In a statement released by the Commissioner’s office, three specific issues were addressed: Mound Visits, Inning Breaks, and Video Replay Review.
Commissioner Rob Manfred also made a point to say that he was glad to have worked on pace of play issues collectively with the Players Association, “I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players.”
In a nutshell, this is what was decided: first, the number of non-pitching change mound visits will be reduced to 6 per team per 9 innings, 1 will be added for extra innings. Second, “a rule designed to reduce the time required for inning breaks and pitching changes”. Apparently, pitchers can take as many warm-up pitches as they like but are no longer guaranteed at least eight. Now pitchers must finish their warm-up pitches 20 seconds out from commercial break which is also when batters must leave the on-deck circle to approach the plate. And 3) new video angles for the championship season and phone lines connecting the dugout and their video replay rooms.
The main things to take away from this rule are 1) even though MLB says there is no clock there still really is a clock and 2) the clock does not include the time used for instant replay and 3) it isn’t really going to work.
Baseball is not a fast-paced game. That’s the beauty of the game; there is no time limit. It is certainly understandable that while the fan demographic for Major League Baseball ages, folks in the Commissioner’s office want to try to keep up with other sports to grow the fan base. But here’s the thing, baseball is different, so instead of trying to make it what it’s not, how about we rebrand it for what it is: America’s favorite pastime.
Photo from reference.com