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Speeding up the Game of Baseball

Posted by rogrulz30 , 19 February 2018 · 381 views

I am a baseball purist. I truly like sitting at a game or watching the game on TV and it doesn't really bother me in any way shape or form that the game takes 2 hours or 6 hours. For me I like the strategy, I like watching each pitch, trying to figure out how they may pitch to a particular person. I like the late inning pitching matchups, the lineup options, and if they are going to bunt (Stop Bunting Paul) or steal. All of these things are fantastic. In the grand scheme of baseball fans I am definitely in the minority. Baseball thrives off of fans.

A normal "fan" comes to the baseball game to cheer on there favorite team. The activities include taking the sounds of a game, taking the smells of different foods and giving something new a try, inviting friends down to the ballpark and having a good time while the game is going on, and a person like me who enjoys dark beer, and analyzing different parts of the game. Most of the people mentioned above want a game to last less than 3 hours.

The Duke in the Dark Dick Bremer had a tweet the other day about the speed of baseball and how to speed the game up. I have thought about this for the last 3 years, I didn't really have a good take on it, but this tweet got me thinking if I was the commissioner what would I really do. How would probably the most important thing to grow baseball and grow with the times and not take away from a game that doesn't have a clock be done. I put myself in the commissioners shoes, and being a baseball purist I thought of some ideas. I think the sum of the time in the ideas add up to what I think could speed up the game and actually make the game more enjoyable, even for the purist.

1. I think a pitch clock does make sense, problem is that the pitcher can step off at any time and call time. Also with a man on base it is easy to do this any time, but I think internally speeds up the game in the lower tiers of the game and eventually makes the efforts quicker. I think the penalty for late pitch is a ball, no matter what the count is.

2. I also think there should be a batters clock, a batter should be in the box ready for the next pitch right away. I think the batters clock should take into effect the time to have signs relayed, but this takes away some of the bad habits batters do "to get ready" for the next pitch.

3. I think there should be a max of 2 visits to the mound from the pitching coach per game, and 2 visits from the Manager per game that do not include a pitching change. This allows manager to have strategic capabilities during the game.

4. This is the most controversial, but the more I have thought about it the more I like it. Relief pitching has taken on a new level to the game. Kansas City Royals won the World Series on a team predicated on relief pitching. Baseball, just like football can be a copycat league. KC wins, relief was a very hot topic RP's contracts went way up because they were so sought after. Cubs, Astros win the W.S. now every team wants to tank to build up the system like they did. The shift started after all the saber metrics on batted balls come to play, and the shift has increased year after year, and now either players try to hit the ball out of the ballpark or K. I would propose a way to have less pitching changes in the game and eliminate some of the specialty matchups. Now bare with me on this. Imagine if you have to make a pitching change the pitcher that comes out has to face a minimum of 3 batters or finish out an inning. This rule would take place unless there is a walk or a balk by the pitcher. I think this rule would add a lot of excitement to the game, and more late inning heroics. This would not eliminate the stupid save stat. This would eliminate the specialty matchups that we have to watch innings 6-9. I think it would have more flow to the game, and it would save time on breaks of pitching changes. I feel there would be a ton of push back to this idea, but in the spirit of making the game take less time, and more action I think it could be could be a lot of fun.

Baseball is a extremely fun sport to watch, there is so much to each pitch, I am in favor of making the game grow, and I think some outside the box ideas are going to come to fruition I will be curious to see what Manfred does. I haven't had a blog post since my first child was born, and now I have 2 others. I am going to try and have some fun with some thoughts surrounding the Twins and baseball. Enjoy.




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Tom Froemming
Feb 20 2018 08:46 AM

Could there be a more indirect way to extend relief appearances? I don't really think we need to eliminate specialists, but it would be great to limit the number of relief pitcher changes. So how about we take a page out of hockey's roster rules?

 

If I understand correctly, hockey teams have a roster of 23 players, but only 20 can be "dressed" and eligible to play in any particular game. What if for baseball we limit managers to using a maximum of five pitchers in a game (including the starter)?

 

This would allow managers to play matchups if they felt the need, but would also give them incentive to get some more outs from their starters and/or carry a long man. It looks like the Twins averaged 4.17 pitchers used per game last season, so I think this rule change would have some impact.

 

I think managers would view that fifth and final pitcher similar to how they currently view backup catchers. They only put those guys into a game when it's absolutely necessary in fear of being left with nobody to catch. So putting the cap at five would probably mean you're really only going to see managers use four pitchers tops each game.

 

Just an idea I've had rattling around in my head for a couple months, what do you think?

    • rogrulz30 likes this

I think the changes they made are appropriate so far. 

 

While I think they need to be careful with pitcher/catcher communication, six visits is a pretty good number with the option to appeal for an extra one.

 

The :20 shave between innings takes 6 minutes off the game.If that same time reduction also applies for pitching changes, then that could average another 2 minutes.

 

I honestly don't want the pitch clocks, pitch clock penalties or bullpen rules changed. Promote a sense of urgency from the minor leagues up. You can handle the Mike Pelfreys, Jose Conteras' and David Justices (just three slow down players that I can think of off the top of my head) on an individual basis.

 

I can't find the post or even recall if it was on this forum, but the idea of using technology to get the fans more involved in the game is a great idea as well.As an example, consolidated game viewing is a great option.You actually get a decent feel for the ebb and flow of the game, if it's done right. 

 

As far as the fans going to the park, I don't think these changes will really matter to them.You either have fans like the OP that love every aspect of the game and time doesn't matter, or you have the casual fans.The casual fans are going to be worried about things like "beating traffic", "getting junior to bed", "how close is the score", "do I have a late night event that I'd like to get to".Those people already paid their admission, bought their concessions and visited the pro shop, so the revenue has been captured.Is keeping them at the game until it's over a big concern to MLB? I'm not sure what the game length target is, but I don't see the proposed changes as significant enough to affect the live audience.

 

TV/Streaming media is different, but I think the key with keeping and drawing fans there is putting as much as possible in the palm of their hand.

I do like the idea of dressing less players, and I really don't want to eliminate specialists, but just make decisions on best spots to use them. I really would want to let SP pitch longer, or make it more of a priority. SP get the hook quickly, I also think managers wear out bullpens too easily.
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Feb 21 2018 06:12 PM
You had me at "purist" (but then you lost me at some point :)

To develop one of your ideas. I think just training umpires to keep the game moving would be best. This could be happening at lower levels where actually games can move pretty quickly already, but umpires could be empowered to call automatic balls or strikes against players who take too much time. I remember an at bat late last season (might have been the playoffs) where Aaron Hicks took the first pitch, then called time, stepped out of the box, and got down on the ground to re-tie his shoe. The umpire should be empowered -- encouraged -- to motion to the pitcher to pitch, instead of tolerating an unnecessary delay like that.

As for the changes for 2018, I never liked the pitch clock but I would trade the whole lot of these recent changes for the pitch clock. I hate the idea of limiting mound visits, though I don't think it will be that noticeable. I came to like the 2;35 minute break between half innings. I watch a lot of games at the bars and I need that extra thirty seconds to "finish my job" sometimes. They could make it 2:00 minutes at the end of innings at keep it 2:30 at half innings. Also, replay? Manfred? Anyone?

Most of all, I want MLB to stop modeling itself after the NFL.

Five hour games are ridiculous and we saw a couple of those last postseason. But mostly I'm not too upset by games regularly going 3:20 or so.
    • rogrulz30 likes this
I think the "baseball guys" in general aren't really motivated by shortening the games. I am just saying if I was Rob Manfred I would have to look at baseball as a whole and continue to grow the game. The general public wants shorter games, I would love an outside the box way to make it more captivating and shorten. I like to see others opinions, again, if it were up to me not much would change.