MLB’s “Pace of Play” Initiatives for 2018
This January it was reported that Major League Baseball will institute their first set of initiatives to try and speed up the game of baseball. Word has come from well-named sources like Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will likely be instituting changes to the game of baseball, but will mostly affect what goes on between pitches. Changes include a 20 second pitch clock, which could result in a consequential no-pitch balls or strikes called by the umpire, all depending on whether it is the pitcher or the batter who is deemed to be delaying the game. Another rule change circulating is in the realm of mound visits. Only 6 mound visits will be allowed in a game, and each additional visit must result in a pitching change. Additionally, two mound visits in the same inning will have to end in a pitching change, even if both visits are by the players with no managerial involvement. According to an article by Jeff Passan, the MLB is hoping to shave at least 10 minutes off of the average game time with the pitch clock alone, and the stipulations on mound visits should reduce average game-time even more by forcing managers to be more decisive on when a mound visit is necessary or when a pitching change need to occur. The average MLB game lasted 3 hours and 8 minutes, but these initiatives are hoping to cut game time down closer to 2 hours and 45 minutes. It has been noted by Rosenthal that these changes are likely to be met with rejection by the MLB Player’s Association, but it is clear that Commissioner Manfred means to speed up the game of baseball as soon as 2018.