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Article: Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals

rob manfred pace of play mlb rules pitch clock
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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 08:45 AM

Pace of play has been one of the major focuses during Rob Manfred’s time as commissioner. Timers have been added for between innings and when new pitchers take the mound. In the minor leagues, a 20-second pitch timer has been used at the Double-A and Triple-A levels since 2015. Major League Baseball wants to see some more changes to baseball’s highest level but the Players’ Association doesn’t agree with these changes.On 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
What are your thought on the potential rule changes? Does MLB need to continue to focus on pace of play? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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#2 MN_ExPat

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:26 AM

Can't say I really have a "problem" with most of those proposed additions with the one exception being players talking to the pitcher or "visiting" the mound. That has been a part of the game since it's inception and IMHO should be left alone.

 

I would agree that the hitter constantly stepping out of the batters box to adjust every part of his uniform imaginable is mind numbingly irritating, but to me a huge part of that starts with the umpire. Don't give the player Carte Blanc to step out all willy nilly. Actually hold his feet to the proverbial fire. If the hitter keeps stepping out, let the pitcher throw a free strike. That would keep them honest.

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#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:30 AM

I'm all for these changes and more. The pitch clock isn't going to be a factor except with notoriously slow pitchers. Fans won't even notice the clocks and will enjoy pace keeping up throughout the game.
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#4 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:33 AM

Can't say I really have a "problem" with most of those proposed additions with the one exception being players talking to the pitcher or "visiting" the mound. That has been a part of the game since it's inception and IMHO should be left alone.

I would agree that the hitter constantly stepping out of the batters box to adjust every part of his uniform imaginable is mind numbingly irritating, but to me a huge part of that starts with the umpire. Don't give the player Carte Blanc to step out all willy nilly. Actually hold his feet to the proverbial fire. If the hitter keeps stepping out, let the pitcher throw a free strike. That would keep them honest.


There's a fine line with pitching mound visits. I agree that fielders running over to the pitcher has been a part of the game forever. However, there should be a limit because some players take advantage of it.

I remember in game 163 Gary Sanchez could have created a dirt path walking back and forth from the plate to the mound.
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#5 Lee-The-Twins-Fan

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:34 AM

I don't have a problem with any of the above proposed rule changes. I think they would all help, but I do question 'what constitutes a mound visit?' If a catcher stands up and takes a few steps to the mound, says something to the pitcher and then throws the ball back and returns to behind home plate, is that a "mound visit?" With no runners on, there is no prohibition against the catcher hanging on to the ball for a few extra seconds, before returning it to the pitcher. 

 

At some point, I suspect, the MLBPA will instead want managers, pitchers and catchers to have radio headsets (like they do in football) to communicate. That would indeed speed up the pace of play. 


#6 Blake

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

Look, MLB needs to find a way to thread the needle between the length of a game and advertising revenue.

 

More rules are not always the answer because enforcing rules can have an impact pace of play and the length of a game.

 

If anything, I find "pace of play" to be somewhat of a deflection from where the problem actually lies.

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#7 Tom Froemming

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:44 AM

I wouldn't have a problem with a pitch clock and restricted visits but, 1) I'll be pretty upset if this dispute causes some kind of labor issues, and 2) there are better ways to speed up the game. How about cutting the time between half innings?

 

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?

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#8 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:55 AM

I wouldn't have a problem with a pitch clock and restricted visits but, 1) I'll be pretty upset if this dispute causes some kind of labor issues, and 2) there are better ways to speed up the game. How about cutting the time between half innings?

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?


SCORCHING Hawt Taek: The pace of play MLB is focusing on now is a distraction for the impending money s***-storm coming up in 2021.

Jeff Passan wrote a detailed article about this topic too and mentioned they were proposing cutting half inning commercial breaks to 2 min 20 seconds for local games, 2:40 for national games.

https://sports.yahoo...-224752035.html
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#9 Craig Arko

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:01 AM

How soon before the “capologist” becomes a staple of MLB front offices?
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#10 JLease

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:08 AM

hell, I'd like a rule mandating a pitcher must face at least 3 batters, barring injury. the many many pitching changes gets very old.

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#11 Tom Froemming

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:12 AM

 

SCORCHING Hawt Taek: The pace of play MLB is focusing on now is a distraction for the impending money s***-storm coming up in 2021.

Jeff Passan wrote a detailed article about this topic too and mentioned they were proposing cutting half inning commercial breaks to 2 min 20 seconds for local games, 2:40 for national games.

https://sports.yahoo...-224752035.html

Isn't it 2:25 right now? If they're going to make a stink about it, might as well slice it down more than that. I appreciate the fact that Commissioner Manfred is open to tinkering with some things in hopes of making improvements, but if he pisses off the MLBPA over a bunch of petty changes that's really going to be a drag.


#12 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:18 AM

Isn't it 2:25 right now? If they're going to make a stink about it, might as well slice it down more than that. I appreciate the fact that Commissioner Manfred is open to tinkering with some things in hopes of making improvements, but if he pisses off the MLBPA over a bunch of petty changes that's really going to be a drag.


Hmm, I don't know how long commercial breaks go for currently... Good point though. If they're eliminating 5 seconds that's not enough to make a difference.

If anything it will end up being 5 less seconds of highlights before the inning begins.

#13 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:38 AM

 

hell, I'd like a rule mandating a pitcher must face at least 3 batters, barring injury. the many many pitching changes gets very old.

this would do more to speed up games than anything...

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#14 Thrylos

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:39 AM

I think that a lot of this is politics.The players and the owners are not on the same page, in general, right now and the players want nothing of the backlash those new measures might bring.

 

That said, I'd rather see them get rid of: character races, T-shirt canons, children's games, dedications to veterans, anthem choir and bands, and everything else non-baseball related between innings or before the first pitch, and then try to change the game.

 

Also there are lower hanging fruits than those:the ridiculous number of throws to first base.Even with the proposed rules, someone can throw 10 times without an effect.That's got to stop.

Edited by Thrylos, 19 January 2018 - 10:45 AM.

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#15 Thrylos

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:40 AM

 

 

this would do more to speed up games than anything...

 

Or speed up fake injuries...

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#16 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:44 AM

With regard to the fidgeting on the mound and the batter stepping out of the box, baseball needs to confront why they're doing that. The players don't do it to be irritating to fans, they do it to "slow the game down" so that they are focused. That, or to try to get into each other's head. Whether they are correct in their belief or not, batters and pitchers alike, they're going to find every way they can to maximize whatever time between pitches is allowed. Trying to get to the root cause, if possible, seems like a better solution than an arbitrary time limit

 

With regard to pitching changes, I'm not in favor of limiting the number, but why do we have to sit through several warmup pitches, after the reliever has been doing exactly that for the prior ten minutes? Make the reliever come to the dugout before the pitching change can even be called, and then have him trot straight to the mound and get to work. (Bullpens may need to be redesigned so that there is a good route to the dugout while staying off the field of play. A tunnel can be dug, as a last resort.)

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#17 Twins33

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:44 AM

Also, for me the main frustration when a game takes longer is that it ends later. There comes a certain point on a weeknight where I've just gotta pull the plug and head home/go to bed so I'm not a wreck at work the next day. Why not start the games at 6, or at least 6:30, instead of 7:10?

I would love if it were 6 or 6:30, but I don't know that they'd ever change it because a lot of people work until 5. Rush hour traffic etc.
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#18 Thrylos

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:48 AM

 

 

Trying to get to the root cause, if possible, seems like a better solution than an arbitrary time limit

 

To have a root cause there needs to be a problem. There is a good number of fans out there who think that there is no problem in the pace of game or the duration of games (Two different things btw).

 

What is next?7 inning games at double headers? Extra innings up to 10 and then either have a tie or have 5 HR derby shots (think penalty shots in soccer)?  

 

If it ain't broken...

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#19 lwarring

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 10:51 AM

 

I don't have a problem with any of the above proposed rule changes. I think they would all help, but I do question 'what constitutes a mound visit?' If a catcher stands up and takes a few steps to the mound, says something to the pitcher and then throws the ball back and returns to behind home plate, is that a "mound visit?" With no runners on, there is no prohibition against the catcher hanging on to the ball for a few extra seconds, before returning it to the pitcher.

 

I would think a 'mound visit' is anything that can't be done within the pitch clock time. If the catcher can talk to the pitcher when returning the ball and they can deliver the pitch before the timer hits bottom, no problem. If they have to call time for the visit, then it's a mound visit.

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#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:07 AM

To have a root cause there needs to be a problem. There is a good number of fans out there who think that there is no problem in the pace of game or the duration of games (Two different things btw).

 

What is next?7 inning games at double headers? Extra innings up to 10 and then either have a tie or have 5 HR derby shots (think penalty shots in soccer)?  

 

If it ain't broken...

There's never going to be unanimous agreement, so there being a "good number" thinking things are hunky-dory isn't enough reason to do nothing. As for the strawman solutions you raised, they appear to me as being possibly strawmen.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: rob manfred, pace of play, mlb rules, pitch clock