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Hurry up! Time's wasting! But let's take another look!
2008-05-24 09:16
by Bob Timmermann

Back on Wednesday, MLB sent out a directive to umpires and players telling them that they wanted the games sped up. And they had rules they wanted enforced.


Umpires should urge batters to approach home plate from the on-deck circle and enter the batter’s box faster, and to enforce rules such as issuing an automatic strike to batters who linger outside the box.


— In bases-empty situations, pitchers should be warned if they don’t pitch within a 12-second time limit. Pitchers will be called for a ball for each subsequent violation.

In addition to those existing rules, conferences on the pitcher’s mound will be broken up more quickly, and teams will be asked to have a reserve player or coach ready to catch warmup pitches if a catcher isn’t ready.

Teams will also be fined for repeated violations of league rules for in-game entertainment, public address announcements and music and video presentations, such as running too long.

J.D. Drew of the Red Sox got caught up in the slow pace snare last night in Oakland, when umpire Tim Tschida would not allow Drew to leave the batter's box to go back to put more pine tar on his bat. Boston coach Dave Magadan disputed this and got kicked out of the game.


There was also another disputed home run call last night. This one was in Cleveland and it appeared that Indians outfielder Ben Francisco missed out on a home run that ended up a double. With four different disputed home run calls this past week, reports are that baseball might experiment with instant replay in the Arizona Fall League.

All batters in the Arizona Fall League will be required to hit one very high fly ball down one of the foul lines to help judge the system's effectiveness. Players failing to do so will be fined.

2008-05-24 09:39:25
1.   GoBears
I was thinking about this last night, watching Wainwright on the mound. Reminded me of Gio Carrara. I timed him for one AB - he was averaging 30 seconds per pitch. I remember Gio, with his walking around the mound and everything else, somethimes going more than a minute between pitches. Some of those might have been with runners on, however.
2008-05-24 09:53:52
2.   DXMachina
Of course, Magadan arguing probably wasted more time than if Tschida had just let Drew touch up his bat.

That said, I'm all for speeding things along.

2008-05-24 09:59:33
3.   gpellamjr
What is the motivation for trying to speed things up?
2008-05-24 10:06:25
4.   Bob Timmermann
Games are lasting an average 51 seconds longer than they did last year.
2008-05-25 18:41:46
5.   Mark Lee
The biggest thing that bothers me about baseball always worrying about the time of games is the hypocrisy in allowing the time between innings to last so long in order to maximize commercial revenue. Nobody minds lots of time between pitches while watching a game. The thing that sucks is waiting 3 minutes between innings and pitching changes. I think the excessive use of relievers who come in to face one hitter and the 3 minute break between innings is the largest difference between game times now and those of 50 years ago. I love looking at old box scores of games from the 50s and 60s that were routinely played in under 2 hours even when there were a lot of runs scored. The time between innings is on the order of 1.5 minutes longer than it was now. There are a minimum of 16 breaks if the home team doesn't have to bat in the 9th. This gives you 24-32 extra minutes right there. Until MLB decides to look to the long-term and shorten the commercial breaks they should stop whining about guys wanting to step out of the box.

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