Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals
Image courtesy of Brad Barr-USA TODAY SportsOn Thursday, the Players’ Association rejected a proposal to add a 20-second pitch clock and limits on mound visits. These rule changes were proposed last season which means the commissioner’s office could implement the rules without the approval of the Players’ Union. A decision could come as early as the next owner’s meeting scheduled to start on January 30th.
Even with attempts to shorten games, the average length of a nine-inning game increased by nearly four and a half minutes. In 2017, it took 3 hours, 5 minutes and 11 second to complete a nine-inning game. Just one year earlier, it was 3 hours and 42 seconds. During last year’s postseason play, the average game took three hours and 29 minutes. The amount of replays also decreased so that wasn’t a factor in adding to the time of games.
At November’s quarterly owners’ meeting, Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear that changes would be coming to the game. He said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can’t get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other.”
According to AP reports, MLB can implement the following changes:
- 30-second clock between batters
- 20-second clock between pitches
- Hitters would be required to be in the batter’s box with at least five seconds left on the timer
- The clock would start when the pitcher has the ball on the mound
- The clock would reset when a pitcher steps off the rubber for a pickoff throw
- Warnings would be issued for a first offense and then a ball is called against a pitcher and a strike is given to a batter
- A team would be allowed one mound visit per pitcher each inning
- The mound visit could be from a manager, coach or player
- A second mound visit must result in a pitching change
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