Manfred on pace of the game

Rob Manfred was recently in Boston. In an interview he was asked about the pace of the game. He noted three changes that need to be looked at ...

1) The time between pitches for certain pitchers.

2) The number of catcher visits to the mound.

Hold on to you hats. You might want to be seated for this one ...

3) The number of ads between innings. He said there's too much time to channel surf between innings.

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Original Post
3and2Fastball posted:

They are really gonna look at reducing revenue via commercial time?  I'll believe that when I see it

They could begin to double box like they do in some of the auto sport events.  Many times they'll go to commercial, but keep the live racing up throughout.  Very effective compromise.  If I'm watching, I'm less prone to change channel and all the while, still watch what I want to see and hear the message of the folks paying for it.  Works very well for sports where the dialogue is frequently unnecessary.

Catcher visits can be a bit problem. Usually not, but some are notorious for mound visits, like the NY Yankees. I was watching a game on the MLB channel featuring the other team's announcers and they, pretty aggressively, joked about it.

I'd say limit to once per inning, and if a time is called for after, umpire says "no time". Play ball. Might help some games some times.

RJM posted:

Rob Manfred was recently in Boston. In an interview he was asked about the pace of the game. He noted three changes that need to be looked at ...

1) The time between pitches for certain pitchers.

2) The number of catcher visits to the mound.

Hold on to you hats. You might want to be seated for this one ...

3) The number of ads between innings. He said there's too much time to channel surf between innings.

1 and 2 are going to happen.  I have serious reservations about any changes to 3 getting by the owners....we are talking about money AND a bunch of old guys wallets.

What surprises me is Manfred said nothing about instant replay and the pace of the game.  Expanded instant replay needs to happen and quicker rulings on those instant replays.  

I like this commisioner, and I think he is going to do great things for the sport we all love.

I'm guessing Manfred is looking at the NFL model. In the first week 10 of 15 games finishes in under three hours. They eliminated one block of ads per quarter. That's twelve mi utes worth of ads. The replaced the ads by running split screens with ads during replay. Baseball could do the same for replays plus mound visits. 

I don't think Manfred, in general, is good for MLB Baseball.  Too much tinkering, to me.  The fines over sign stealing was Manfred jumping the shark, to me.  Clearly we are getting to a point where far too few decision makers played the game at the highest level.  

Go on Facebook and check out Tim Flannery's post on the subject.  He said it much better than I could.

last week during a Red Sox/Rays extra inning-athon... Pedro was on MLB network and they had cut-in to the game and he essentially says, "to just get up there and throw the damn ball" (about the only part I caught too which was funny)... Anyway, the panel in general was also critical of the batters - step out of the box, adjust your gloves, etc. although they said it was OK for certain players, perhaps Big Papi, to do that because they earned that.  They also indicated limiting pitcher visits by the catcher and pitching changes per inning would speed things up a lot.  I dunno - maybe require the manager/coach who takes that slow walk to turn around if he cannot make it there in 5-10 seconds.  If a catcher visits a pitcher, comes back, then don't allow the coach out there afterwards... of course there's always the 'injury' (real or feigned) excuse.

As for sign stealing and fines...  whatever, yawn.  I bet if the pace was faster the opportunity to steal and relay signs in an inning or within a single at bat would be greatly reduced. We have what we have because over time all the shenanigans have been allowed. Once you let one do it and it becomes the norm, then it's hard to undo what is the norm to get that pendulum to swing back the other way.

I have said this before to some derision.  Change walks and strikeouts to 3 balls to walk and 2 strikes to K.  It will force pitchers to throw more strikes and batters to move the stick.  Couple that with a pitch clock - let batters do whatever they want - if they aren't in a ready after 5 seconds and they are fidgeting around - pump it over the middle for a strike.  These two things will bring back the 2:10 ball game - and the owners don't have to change anything else.  

3and2Fastball posted:

I don't think Manfred, in general, is good for MLB Baseball.  Too much tinkering, to me.  The fines over sign stealing was Manfred jumping the shark, to me.  Clearly we are getting to a point where far too few decision makers played the game at the highest level.  

Go on Facebook and check out Tim Flannery's post on the subject.  He said it much better than I could.

One man's "tinkering" is another man's changes needed over a twenty+ year period that never happened because the former Commissioner was "asleep at the wheel" (did not recognize steroids or technical advances taking place in society).  ;-)

luv baseball posted:

I have said this before to some derision.  Change walks and strikeouts to 3 balls to walk and 2 strikes to K.  It will force pitchers to throw more strikes and batters to move the stick.  Couple that with a pitch clock - let batters do whatever they want - if they aren't in a ready after 5 seconds and they are fidgeting around - pump it over the middle for a strike.  These two things will bring back the 2:10 ball game - and the owners don't have to change anything else.  

I think they would move to a 7-inning game instead of that.

real green posted:

Commercial ads seem to be in the natural down time of the game.  I have never noticed the "TV" timeouts that you have during football games.  Where would you remove the ad time from?  

He wants to reduce the ad time between innings. It would have a cumulative effect over sixteen, seventeen between innings breaks plus the five to eight pitching changes. 

Matt - It is not as though the rules on this have never changed.  Imagine how long a game would take if there were 8 balls per batter.  We'd have 5/6 hour games and it would suck.  If the games were shortened by changing the rules way back - it would still work - at least there is significant precedent for such consideration.  From Wikipedia:

In 1880, the National League changed the rules so that eight balls instead of nine were required for a walk. In 1884, the National League changed the rules so that six balls were required for a walk. In 1886, the American Association changed the rules so that six balls instead of seven were required for a walk; however, the National League changed the rules so that seven balls were required for a walk instead of six. In 1887, the National League and American Association agreed to abide by some uniform rule changes and decreased the number of balls required for a walk to five. In 1889, the National League and the American Association decreased the number of balls required for a walk to four.[10] In 2017, Major League Baseball approved a rule change allowing for a batter to be walked intentionally by having the defending bench signal to the Umpire. The move was met with some controversy.

Interestingly the rules changed from winning a game requiring 21 aces (runs) to 9 Frames (innings) in the 1860's as player skill improved to the point where scoring 21 runs was no longer a sure thing. 

Call the strike zone according to the rule book and that will allow pitchers to attack hitters without nibbling, deep counts, and the surplusage of walks.  I think it would result in more balls put in play and more action.  Whether it reduces game time or not, the game would involve more action.

I'm always amazed that, when they put up that K zone box on the screen, the top of it is set to what MLB umpires call and not to where the rule book provision would indicate.  I'm tired of people claiming a pitch at the belt buckle is high and therefore a ball.  I still don't understand how or why this ever got started in the first place.

Midlo Dad posted:

Call the strike zone according to the rule book and that will allow pitchers to attack hitters without nibbling, deep counts, and the surplusage of walks.  I think it would result in more balls put in play and more action.  Whether it reduces game time or not, the game would involve more action.

I'm always amazed that, when they put up that K zone box on the screen, the top of it is set to what MLB umpires call and not to where the rule book provision would indicate.  I'm tired of people claiming a pitch at the belt buckle is high and therefore a ball.  I still don't understand how or why this ever got started in the first place.

Yes, center-cut FB's up to 2" below belt often not called a strike, and when they are, the MLB player usually has a fit. It does look, however, that "low strikes" are not called as much, and I believe that was the intent. To me, it would seem the high strikes would be a lot easier to drive compared to the really low ones...

luv baseball posted:

Matt - It is not as though the rules on this have never changed.  Imagine how long a game would take if there were 8 balls per batter.  We'd have 5/6 hour games and it would suck.  If the games were shortened by changing the rules way back - it would still work - at least there is significant precedent for such consideration.  From Wikipedia:

In 1880, the National League changed the rules so that eight balls instead of nine were required for a walk. In 1884, the National League changed the rules so that six balls were required for a walk. In 1886, the American Association changed the rules so that six balls instead of seven were required for a walk; however, the National League changed the rules so that seven balls were required for a walk instead of six. In 1887, the National League and American Association agreed to abide by some uniform rule changes and decreased the number of balls required for a walk to five. In 1889, the National League and the American Association decreased the number of balls required for a walk to four.[10] In 2017, Major League Baseball approved a rule change allowing for a batter to be walked intentionally by having the defending bench signal to the Umpire. The move was met with some controversy.

Interestingly the rules changed from winning a game requiring 21 aces (runs) to 9 Frames (innings) in the 1860's as player skill improved to the point where scoring 21 runs was no longer a sure thing. 

I know...but I do know that there are murmurs of going to a shorter game. I have not heard anything about shortening plate appearances.

Batty67 posted:
Midlo Dad posted:

Call the strike zone according to the rule book and that will allow pitchers to attack hitters without nibbling, deep counts, and the surplusage of walks.  I think it would result in more balls put in play and more action.  Whether it reduces game time or not, the game would involve more action.

I'm always amazed that, when they put up that K zone box on the screen, the top of it is set to what MLB umpires call and not to where the rule book provision would indicate.  I'm tired of people claiming a pitch at the belt buckle is high and therefore a ball.  I still don't understand how or why this ever got started in the first place.

Yes, center-cut FB's up to 2" below belt often not called a strike, and when they are, the MLB player usually has a fit. It does look, however, that "low strikes" are not called as much, and I believe that was the intent. To me, it would seem the high strikes would be a lot easier to drive compared to the really low ones...

With the last change of the strike zone, the bottom was dropped with the intent that more low strikes would be called, but not to the extent of the zone. Then electronic evaluation came along, and that bottom is being called so consistently that MLB has proposed raising it, even saying that the intent was for it never to go that low.

Reduce the time between pitches by 10 seconds, and you're saving around 40 minutes/game. Boom: that's all you need. To make it a bit easier, allow coach to catcher and pitcher communication via an earpiece.

Within 5 years, all players at all levels will be conditioned to the abbreviated time between pitches. 

 

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