Pace of play will continue to be an issue at the forefront for Major League Baseball in 2018
If you felt like Mets games dragged in 2017, it was probably because the team was pretty terrible, and not necessarily because of pace of play, but Major League Baseball still believe it’s an issue that needs to be solved. According to a new report by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the league and the players’ union will be getting together soon to address this topic again before Spring Training kicks off in February.
Feinsand’s sources haven’t specified a date, but the logical thing would be for any meeting of this sort to take place this month in order to be able to add any rule changes to the 2018 season.
The report suggests that some of the discussions could revolved around a pitch clock (a set length of time between pitches), and limiting the number of catcher visits to the mound per inning.
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The length of baseball games has been a hot button issue for commissioner Rob Manfred since he took over as baseball’s main chief in January of 2015. The idea behind these talks is to try to cut down a good minute or so every inning and thus reducing the overall length of games to make them more appealing to a demographic that isn’t used to it. None of this is new, of course.
During his brief tenure, Manfred has already helped speed up the game a little. A little less than a month after taking over as commissioner, Major League Baseball added a rule that prevented batters from getting out of the box between pitches. That rule actually made some sense as some hitters just stood there for a few seconds going through an endless loop of adjustments.
In 2017, Manfred then decided to target the incredible lengthy process of throwing four balls out of the strike zone to intentionally walk a batter. That one really made us scratch our heads, but now it’s a rule. You only have to signal you’re going to walk a batter instead of having to throw those four balls.
We’ll see what kinds of changes are proposed, and which – if any – are adopted by both sides of the business that is baseball. From the players’ perspective, any changes in pace of play could affect how they perform or concentrate between pitches. Both pitchers and hitters will surely have a lot to say on the topic.