Shortening MLB Games

After minor rule changes led to MLB games lasting, on average, 2 hours and 56 minutes in 2015, an average MLB game is back up over 3 hours in 2016. This bump has caught the eye of Commissioner Rob Manfred as MLB tries to find ways to shorten the average length of games to keep fans and viewers more interested in the sport. Below are easy, no-brainer changes that should be made to shorten the length of games.

Limit mound visits

Nothing eats up more time and nothing is more frustrating as a fan than mound visits. Baseball has no rule on mound visits other than that the pitcher needs to be subbed if the coach is visiting for the second time that inning. But a catcher can go check on his battery mate 100 times an inning if he wants. While the situation has never gotten that bad, it certainly feels like it. The other night in Safeco, the Angels catcher visited the mound at least four times one inning and it probably came at the cost of 4-5 minutes of playing time.

A team should only have a certain amount of mound visits a game, regardless of whether it’s a player or coach. I’d say three times is a good number. This wouldn’t include pitching changes, but any type of visit without removing the pitcher.

-Pitching Changes

A real time killer is pitching changes, especially later in the game when managers play the percentages. There have been innings with two or three pitching changes alone. To fix this, I recommend a couple things. 1) Only 1 pitching change an inning. This will keep managers from eating up clock by bringing in relievers for just a batter or two. The reason I say 1 change per inning instead of 0 is for the case a pitcher is terrible and gives up a ton of runs and should be replaced. 2) Minimum batters faced. By creating a rule that a pitcher must face at least 3 batters before being subbed, this will prevent adding time to the game with multiple changes in one inning.

– Pitch Clock

There is a 20 second pitch clock in MiLB and it works. MLB needs to implement it- and not just in name. If a pitcher takes too long to deliver a pitch, it becomes a ball. This one is on the umps to enforce and they should be fined, along with the pitchers and batters, for not complying.

– Game Clock

The game clock is already in place, but again, it needs to be enforced. If the pitcher and batter aren’t ready between innings the 2 minute clock expires, they are fined.

 

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