Tick Tock, Tick Tock: MLB Changes in Pace of Play

Unlike myself, apparently, there are people in this world that don’t enjoy watching four-hour baseball games.

Well, sorry I was brought up watching five-hour Red Sox/Yankee games. *insert shrugging girl emoji here*

Today, MLB announced a new pace of play rule for the upcoming 2018 season. Mound visits are now limited to six. FOR THE ENTIRE NINE INNING GAME. This new rule counts a pitching coach visiting the mound and a player talking with the pitcher as a mound visit.

This is the old mound visit rule:

A manager or coach can make one mound visit per pitcher per inning without needing to remove the pitcher from the game. If a manager or coach visits the same pitcher twice in one inning, the pitcher must be removed from the contest.

Mound visits are limited to 30 seconds, starting when the manager or coach has exited the dugout and been granted time by the umpire. (Deadspin)

The old rule only applied to the coaching staff, whether it’s the manager or pitching coach, but the new rule includes catchers running out to the mound when they can’t get on the same page.

This is going to require some crazy strategic planning. I wonder how it’ll affect pitchers and catchers who can’t get on the same page. Because would it be worth it to lose one of those six mound visits during the game?

One rule that still hasn’t made an appearance at the major league level is a pitch clock. Manfred’s been flirting with this at the major league level for a while. The minors currently have a pitch clock that’s used in between pitches in an attempt to speed up the game. Right now in the majors, there’s a clock used between innings, but for right now, they’re allergic to a pitch clock.

This mound visit rule is the second (ish) rule to be instituted to help with pace of play. Way back when this became a thing (2015), the league required players to keep one foot inside the batter’s box between pitches at all times. Or else get in trouble. I don’t think that’s been enforced. Ever. (If it has, someone let me know.)

The one actual rule that has stuck—against my strong dislike—is the elimination of the intentional walk. Click here to read my thoughts and yelling about this into the Internet.

So, we’ll have to see how this mound visit rule ends up working out. In reality, it’s only going to shave maybe a handful of minutes off a game’s total time.

But what happens in extra innings?

4 comments

  1. I think this mound visit rule is a poor attempt at trying to fix pace of play. I don’t understand their whole notion that the game has to be faster, in the first place. I hate games that are 2 hours and 20 minutes, especially if I’m there. I feel ripped off. There’s nothing wrong with a 3 hour game, football games are 3 hours and I read somewhere once that over the course of a 60 minute game, gameplay happens in only 17 or 18 minutes of it. Baseball has more action than that.

    I’m expecting pitchers and catchers to get creative on how they communicate with each other. What if the catcher walks halfway to the mound and shouts to the pitcher? Is that a mound visit? What if they create their own coded language and have a conversation while the pitcher stands on the mound and the catcher stays behind home plate?

    The only times when pace of play is a problem, is when the game is boring and its creeping up on the 4 hour mark. If they’re trying to win over fans with short attention spans, they should just give up. Those people probably don’t like baseball in the first place even if it was an hour long.

    I’m gonna go read your post about the Intentional Walk now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my collection of rants, I’m sure I have one about pace of play. I agree with you about what is considered a “mound visit”. I don’t have an issue with managers/coaches going out to the mound; it’s the catcher mound visits (or random infielders going in) that bother me. And what take up a lot of time.

      In my pace of play rant, I know there’s a part about NFL games. You don’t hear anyone complaining about how when it’s on TV, they show the kick off, go to commercial, come back, play for a few minutes, and then go to commercial again. Time wise, football is technically played for 60 minutes. And the games take 3 hours to play out because of the stoppage and unnecessary commercial breaks.

      I think the big problem and why baseball is singled out for pace of play is because there’s no clock. Football, hockey, and basketball all play within a certain period of time. There are no time restrictions in baseball, and people think that the games are too long. They average out, what, like 3 and a half hours? Like you have to know that going into the game. Don’t think a baseball game is going to take an hour. And what about extra innings? Of course the game is going to go longer.

      /end rant

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! The NFL drives me nuts with the commercial after a TD, kick-off, commercial, few minutes, commercial sequence. I’m also of the belief that commercials never actually work and they just make us hate the product more, unless its food.

        Maybe a compromise to the whole pitch clock issue is maybe have a clock for the first 5 innings and then nothing for the innings after that since it’s the more important innings arguably. I just don’t know how much time they realistically expect to cut off the average. If anything, it’ll be 5 minutes or less.

        I’d like to see a breakdown of how long an average at bat is from the moment the batter is announced to the completion of their at bat. Because at minimum, there are 54 at-bats per game, and both teams aren’t getting a no hitter so the number is higher than that. And then let’s say each at-bat averages out to about 2 minutes. That’s already over 2 hours. Factor in commercials and mound visits and we’re at 3 hours. What I’m getting at is the whole nature of the game is meant for it to be long. Unless they shorten games to 7 innings, it’ll always hover around 3 hours in length.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like how you did out the math for the breakdown of at-bats per game. You’re more ambitious than I am. But I guess there’s a reason why all games average around 3 hours. Like you have to know that going into watching a game, and I feel like most baseball fans don’t care. It’s probably the fair-weather fans that are complaining because the few games a year that they watch are a little longer.

        Liked by 1 person

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