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MLB Pace of Play: Revisted for the 19,000th time

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#1 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:43 AM

MLB has been saying for the last couple of years that pace of play is a problem that they're trying to get fixed. In 2017, it took on average 3 hours and 5 minutes to complete a regular season game. Up 4 minutes from 2016, and 14 minutes from 2010.  

 

Now it's not just the total time it takes to complete a game that's a problem. Another huge issue is the lack of action contributing to a 3 hour baseball game. 

 

 

Baseball has never been more beset by inaction. Games this season saw an average gap of 3 minutes, 48 seconds between balls in play, an all-time high. There were more pitcher substitutions than ever, the most time between pitches on record and longer games than ever.

 

In regards to pitcher substitutions, "Regular-season games this year saw an average of 8.4 pitchers used between both teams, an all-time high. That’s up from 5.8 pitchers a game 30 years ago."

 

In regards to time between pitches, "Moreover, the pitchers being added are the slowest: The average reliever takes 1.5 seconds longer between each pitch than the average starter. ........ There were around 3.9 pitches thrown per batter, also the highest on record."

 

The cat is out of the bag with analytics. MLB teams are becoming more aware of pitching change strategies and shifts to win as many games as possible. Some how Manfred and company have to implement different ideas to speed up this game. Pitch clocks, limiting how many pitching coach visits a team has, whatever works. 

Something has to happen before baseball becomes a 3.5 hour game. 

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#2 lukeduke1980

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 10:53 AM

The catcher visits and the infielder visits annoy me and seem to add to the problem.

 

To me an acknowledgment at least would be to start the games earlier.If a game started at 6:30 rather than 7:11, late inning heroics would be more likely to be broadcast for the prime time viewing audience.


#3 drjim

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:02 AM

I say baseball embraces what it is about to become. A great place to spend a night, and the perfect second screen sport.

 

Perhaps the best way to speed up a little is limit warmup pitches for pitching changes, and to decrease the time in between innings. For the second part, would need some creative split screen advertising, which I personally would not be opposed to. Less block commercials, more in game advertising.

Papers...business papers.

#4 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:14 AM

 

I say baseball embraces what it is about to become. A great place to spend a night, and the perfect second screen sport.

 

Perhaps the best way to speed up a little is limit warmup pitches for pitching changes, and to decrease the time in between innings. For the second part, would need some creative split screen advertising, which I personally would not be opposed to. Less block commercials, more in game advertising.

 

They may just embrace it, but I don't know if that's the best route in order to grow the sport. An alarming stat from the WSJ article I quoted in the OP said:
 

 

 

The issue is where MLB is headed. Baseball’s television audience, the oldest among major North American professional sports, had a median age of 57 in 2016, according to a study of Nielsen data by the ad-buying agency Magna Global. That age, which has remained about the same in 2017, is up from a median of 52 in 2006.

Only 7% of baseball viewers were between the ages of 2 and 17, according to the study, which puts MLB closer to horse racing (5%) than to professional basketball (11%).

 

I'm an advocate for limiting warm up pitches. Especially knowing that the number of pitching substitutions aren't going to decrease in the future. I also believe they've been doing more split screen advertising this year, which has helped. 


#5 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:18 AM

 

The catcher visits and the infielder visits annoy me and seem to add to the problem.

 

To me an acknowledgment at least would be to start the games earlier.If a game started at 6:30 rather than 7:11, late inning heroics would be more likely to be broadcast for the prime time viewing audience.

 

I don't think the time when a game starts is going to move the needle. Regardless of when it starts, fans have to settle in for a 3 hour affair, and wait in 4 minute intervals for something to happen.  


#6 drjim

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:21 AM

The median age of TV watchers has increased at a faster rate. Baseball is always going to skew the oldest of all sports.

 

These are same stories that have dogged the sport for almost a century. I'm not saying they shouldn't work to speed up the game, but it is going to be hard to do without changing the sport. The best place is in between innings and during pitching changes. It would be a better in person game and would change the at home experience.

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Papers...business papers.

#7 spycake

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:44 PM

I think the problem is almost entirely batters stepping out of the box after every pitch.  I don't know why that rule enforcement was abandoned so quickly in 2015, if anything it should have been stepped up further.  I'd like to see the pitch clock like they have in the minors now.

 

And this is a change that shouldn't cost MLB much -- it's game time, so they're not losing commercial breaks.  Might even get a slight ratings boost later in the game (or for post-game shows).  I don't think it would ultimately make much of a difference in ballpark revenue either.  With break times the same, people would still make their same concession trips, it would just be slightly compressed.

 

I guess since it's revenue neutral, MLB probably won't bother to do it.  It would just upset players and probably umpires (who would have to enforce it).  As a fan and former concessions worker, though, I would love it!

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#8 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:50 PM

 

I think the problem is almost entirely batters stepping out of the box after every pitch.  I don't know why that rule enforcement was abandoned so quickly in 2015, if anything it should have been stepped up further.  I'd like to see the pitch clock like they have in the minors now.

 

And this is a change that shouldn't cost MLB much -- it's game time, so they're not losing commercial breaks.  Might even get a slight ratings boost later in the game (or for post-game shows).  I don't think it would ultimately make much of a difference in ballpark revenue either.  With break times the same, people would still make their same concession trips, it would just be slightly compressed.

 

I guess since it's revenue neutral, MLB probably won't bother to do it.  It would just upset players and probably umpires (who would have to enforce it).  As a fan and former concessions worker, though, I would love it!

 

Batters constantly stepping out of the batter's box to readjust their gloves is also annoying. I forgot they had that rule implemented before. That didn't last long. 

I've also attended a fair share of minor league games and the pitch clock works out great! IIRC it's 30 seconds, so it's not like a pitcher is rushing to get his pitch across the plate. It just serves as a reminder to keep the pace up. 


#9 lwarring

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:07 PM

I agree, shortening time between pitches should be a focus. Less willingness to grant time out for a batter, perhaps. Allow the pitcher to begin delivery when they are ready instead of having to wait for the batter to do their lengthy routine before every pitch. Pitch clock with a ball called if not delivered on time.

 

I would like to see some tweaks to how replay is done. Instead of waiting on every close play for a team to review a replay and call the field and indicate if it needs review, how about if they simply have 5 or 10 seconds to say they want it reviewed. if a manager is sure it's wrong, call for a review immediately, else move on. For 100 years baseball survived with a few missed calls.


#10 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:31 AM

Step out of the batter's box a second time, there must be a physical problem, son. Manager, bring in a new player.

 

Problem solved.

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So little time, so little to do.-- Oscar Levant


#11 amjgt

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:41 AM

 

 

In regards to pitcher substitutions, "Regular-season games this year saw an average of 8.4 pitchers used between both teams, an all-time high. That’s up from 5.8 pitchers a game 30 years ago."

 

 

 

Which means that the average game has gone from 22.8 commercial breaks per game to 25.4 commercial breaks per game, which means a 11.4% increase in ad revenue potential

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#12 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:45 AM

Which means that the average game has gone from 22.8 commercial breaks per game to 25.4 commercial breaks per game, which means a 11.4% increase in ad revenue potential

If MLB finds a way to monetize batters stepping out of the box, look out.

 

"This Out Of The Box Moment has been brought to you by GEICO, who has been thinking outside the box since nineteen-umpty-ump."

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So little time, so little to do.-- Oscar Levant


#13 Vanimal46

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:46 AM

 

If MLB finds a way to monetize batters stepping out of the box, look out.

 

"This Out Of The Box Moment has been brought to you by GEICO, who has been thinking outside the box since nineteen-umpty-ump."

 

You have your sponsor wrong... Wasn't it Taco Bell that thinks outside the box?

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#14 amjgt

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:22 AM

 

You have your sponsor wrong... Wasn't it Taco Bell that thinks outside the box?

 

No... Papa Murphy's

 

 

Think about it....

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#15 amjgt

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:24 AM

This meeting at the mound is sponsored by Almond Joy. Almond Joys have nuts. Mounds don't,

Edited by amjgt, 10 October 2017 - 11:25 AM.

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#16 amjgt

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:53 AM

This 100mph Champan fastball is brought to you by Marlboro. The only heaters better than Chapman's are Marlboro 100s.


#17 Loosey

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:59 AM

With the way teams are putting together "super bullpens" I think we are going to see longer games.Instead of expecting starters to go 6-7 innings and then hopefully the 8th inning guy and closer finish off the game we are going to see good starters go 4-5 innings even when they are pitching OK because some teams have 5-6 relievers that are basically closer type.So one inning or parts of innings for these guys will really slow down the game but effectively shut down offenses.


#18 spinowner

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:03 PM

I posted on the other thread that's basically the same as this one.