In the major leagues, speeding up the pace of play has been in the news lately. MLB formed a committee to look into ways to speed up the major league game, which has taken longer and longer to complete.
This committee isn’t going to need to meet for very long. The independent Atlantic League put in some new measures midway through the 2014 season to speed up play, and they worked. After one month of play with the new pace of play rules in effect, Atlantic League games were completed an average of nine minutes faster.
Copied from Tom Verducci’s article from Sports Illustrated, here are the five rules the Atlantic League established:
- Pitchers must deliver a pitch within 12 seconds with nobody on base (actually, that’s simply enforcement of an ignored rule already on the books) and batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box in between pitches.
- Defensive teams get three 45-second timeouts per nine innings — that includes conferences between the catcher and pitcher or infielders and pitcher. Pitching changes do not count as a timeout.
- Relief pitchers get six warmup pitches, not eight, upon entering the game, and must complete those pitches within one minute.
- Intentional walks are automatic, with no need to throw four pitches out of the strike zone.
- The rulebook strike zone will be enforced, allowing for the high strike.
The first rule is key – in fact, if MLB enforced just the first one, it would speed things up dramatically.
A writer in Pittsburgh monitored a single mid-season game and saw the batter step out of the box 190 times, clocking in at a total of 39 minutes, 51 seconds.
Stepping out of the box is a relatively new phenomenon. If you have ever watched any of those old MLB Network games like Don Larsen‘s perfect game (1956) or the Bill Mazeroski game (1961) you will notice that the batter never steps out of the box, and the game moves much quicker.
What I am hoping is that the MLB committee will adopt one or two of these ideas – the first one is the perfect place to start – and then enforce them in the minor leagues in 2015. We could be “guinea pigs” in the PCL. If the new measures work, they could be implemented in the majors.
Well that Mariners playoff run was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?
No they are not mathematically eliminated, but things took a deep turn for the worse over the last four days. Not only are the Mariners not winning, they are getting blown out every day.
From the couch, the Mariners look as if they have caved under the pressure of playing must-win games in late September. I suppose this isn’t unexpected, since the Mariners are mostly a young team that has never played important late-September games before. Only Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney have a lot of experience in this situation.
We can still root for a miracle. But don’t get too down if it doesn’t happen: this has been a very good season for Seattle. Remember where we were at this time last year.
- You know it’s going badly when Felix Hernandez gets lit up. The Mariners starting rotation is really struggling.
- In Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook, Kendrys Morales says he is interested in signing a multiple-year contract with the Mariners. I wonder if he would get more than a minor league contract with a non-roster invite on the open market?
- Here’s a fun read from Ryan Divish which details the characters in the Mariners bullpen.
- One bright spot for the Mariners this year is that Kyle Seager has gotten even better.
- Look out, rest of the PCL’s American-South division: Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane verbally committed to fielding a winning Triple-A team in Nashville.
- As you may have heard, Derek Jeter is retiring. There is a ton of stuff out there on his final week as a player, but this item from the New York Times includes the Yankees original scouting report on Jeter.
- For an overview of Jeter’s career, Jonah Keri’s analysis is a good place to start. Or you could be like me and just watch Jeter’s top ten career highlights recreated in Legos.
Our next update will be on Friday.