Tap-In Question: Is it important for MLB to shorten the length of games? Why or why not? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: Is it important for MLB to shorten the length of games? Why or why not?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

We’ve discussed all kinds of issues here at the Tap Room since we opened in March 2016.

Mostly, the conversations have centered around the Orioles, but sometimes we look at issues that affect Major League Baseball overall.

Let’s make today one of those days.

With the completion of last night’s Super Bowl, the NFL is finally over. March Madness isn’t approaching just yet (though University of Maryland fans already have been driven mad by the enigma of this Terps’ team) and there is still a week before pitchers and catchers report in Sarasota, Fla.

Since we’re still waiting on the Orioles to fill some – read, any – of their major holes, I figured this would be a good time to get your opinion on the “pace of play” initiatives that may or may not be implemented in 2018.

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Commissioner Rob Manfred said he has the OK from owners to unilaterally – without the players’ union permission – enact a 20-second pitch clock, but that looks like it may not happen this upcoming season. Manfred has offered another proposal that would skip the pitch clock for 2018, and again in 2019, if the average game time can drop roughly 10 minutes to two hours and 55 minutes.

Among the in-game changes Manfred suggests include hitters having to stay in the batter’s box between pitches, and team visits to the mound (excluding pitching changes) being limited to six per club per game.

I’m on board with that one, since I think the frequency of catchers’ visits (which are included in the six) has gotten out of hand lately. That’s certainly the take from Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who complains about those visits on a near-daily basis during the season.

To me, there are three things that have really slowed down baseball games: The constant pitching carousel, created, in part, by pitchers who don’t go deep into games and the use of match-up specialists in the later innings; the amount of foul balls these days that accelerate pitch counts and can be a contributing factor to early pitching hooks; and all of the time devoted to commercials.

One of the provisions in Manfred’s new proposal is that hitters and pitchers must be ready to go when the television broadcast returns from break. Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched hitters and pitchers waiting for TV and not the other way around.

The commercial breaks help pay for the game, so I’m not particularly optimistic that is gong to be truly fixed. And the other two – pitching changes and an abundance of fouls – have become part of the game.

Regardless, I’m on board with trying to get an average game under three hours, but that’s primarily for personal reasons. The quicker a game is, the more time I have to do my job well and/or the quicker I’m done working. It’s why all sportswriters can’t stand extra innings – deadlines (at least for newspaper writers) get blown up and long days become longer days.

Yet this isn’t about sportswriters, or even players.

Baseball is afraid it’s losing generations of fans because the game moves to slowly for today’s society. The action in baseball has always been segmented – but it’s the unpredictability of when that action will occur that makes baseball so much fun to watch.

I’m not sure speeding it up by 10 minutes, on average,will make the game more watchable for those who don’t have the patience for baseball. There’s always going to be downtime in the sport. The fact there is no clock is one of its beauties – you have to get 27 outs or more. There is no exception.

And I concur with Showalter when he says he’s never heard a fan complain about a game lasting too long. The action or style of play stagnating? Sure. But the actual length of game never seems to be a major deal.

I kind of compare it to two routes to the same travel destination. One is on the highway and traffic moves. Another is on side roads that tend to get congested. They may take the same amount of time, but one feels like it is faster than the other because you’re always moving.

As always, I could be wrong, considering I don’t watch baseball games as “a fan” these days. Maybe you feel like a baseball game is too painfully long, and the average should again be under three hours. That’s fine, but tell me why – and what specifically you think needs to be changed.

Tap-In Question: Is it important for MLB to shorten the length of baseball games? Why or why not?

 

52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. ReichStuff

    February 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I have never, ever felt that a baseball took too long to play. When I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that it was in the 7th inning, I was disappointed because that meant it was almost over. That feeling has lasted from my first Major League game in 1962 at the Washington Senators park until this day. That feeling exists when I attend a game in person, however. There is just too much to see at the park. Watching a batter step out after every pitch and adjust his batting glove(s) is infuriating to me when watching on TV. Maybe that’s because I am forced to watch what the TV camera presents to me. Is it worth messing with the game dynamics in an effort to shorten games by 10 minutes? I vote resoundingly, NO.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

      Interesting. That’s kind of my sentiment. But I get the flip side.

  2. Dblack2508

    February 5, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I think leave it alone, my reason is it’s the only sport that still vaguely resembles itself since I was a child. I go to probably 40 plus games a year, and I still enjoy the atmosphere as much as I did in the 60s and 70s. I see both arguments but look at the advertising between innings and you have probably 20 more minutes.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 10:49 am

      No question. Shorten time in between innings would cut down on length of game. But would also cut down on advertising dollars

  3. Bancells Moustache

    February 5, 2018 at 9:26 am

    The purist in me wants to say no, but World Series games taking 5 hours and running to 1 AM is just plain stupid. I still believe if the Umpires were empowered to give guys a swift kick in ass and say “get moving junior” much of this would go away. NCAA games take a fraction of the time to complete 9 frames, so it’s clearly the pros slowed down approach accounting for much of the downtime. Heres a suggestion; put the pitching coach in slacks and a Polo shirt, get him a stiff drink and send him to the clubhouse. Why does he need to visit the mound? A Major League battery has been throwing ball and catching ball for about 25 years and are fabulously compensated for it. Is it too much to ask that they figure a way to get guys out on their own?

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Good point. And tho I don’t care too much about the time of play — except to more efficiently finish my workday — I am staunch about starting playoff games earlier. That’s brutal and that’s a big reason why the younger generation doesn’t care as much about baseball. Every kid in Philly last night watched the Eagles win before going to bed.

  4. Jaconnol

    February 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

    ReichStuff summarized my feelings as well. TV has to be the MLB concern. Is a formal clock necessary or can the home plate umpire take control of the glove adjustment, etc. scenario? MLB addresses the glove adjustment, stepping out of the box type game delays with the player’s union, ownership, etc. and empowers the home plate ump with a warning, then penalty assessment to the batter (Perhaps an automatic called strike). I understand that this would be a subjective rule based on the umpire, but so is the calling of balls and strikes!

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 10:58 am

      That’s part of the new proposal. A player can’t step out of the box without facing discipline from the umpire.

  5. Orial

    February 5, 2018 at 9:38 am

    The problem is not the length of games(2 1/2 hrs-3 hrs) or the pace of play(baseball has always been meticulous). The problem is the viewing audience. The pace of life is faster,quicker. People changing channels,eating on the go,talking but not listening. Look at the lifestyle of the 50’s and 60’s and look at today. There lies baseball’s problem. If they can get people(especially younger ones) to sit down,relax,put your I Phone down,and slow it down they will have an audience, if not they will have selected few who,similar to golf, will watch.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 10:59 am

      Solid points. It’s funny how many people that watch the games while following along with us — the media covering those games — on Twitter.

  6. Creatively_19

    February 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Beer me bartender, and make it a tallboy, this might take a minute.

    I do think it’s important to speed up games, but I’m not 100% convinced that a pitch clock is the way to do that. Consider the fact that average game times have gone from 1:47 in 1920, to 2:30 in 1970, to 3:08 in 2017. 2017 represented a new record, despite other pace of play measures that MLB has already instituted. The audience of baseball games has also vastly changed since 1920, and baseball needs to keep the games moving quickly in order to not lose their attention. People are busy with smartphones and tablets, their lives are faster, they have to commute longer distances to get to the ballpark. Ballgames that go over 3 hours means that kids can’t stay up to see how it ends. The playoffs are so terrible for the sport of baseball because they completely alienate young fans who have no opportunity to watch. They start late and they end the next morning. Games are too long, and despite the old traditionalists who don’t want the game to change, in order to survive baseball needs to cater to the next generation of sports fans as well.

    So what has changed in the last 100 years so drastically about baseball to make it a much longer game? Games are televised, and as you stated players are often waiting for the TV commercials to end. Cut those down to 1 minute and 30 seconds between innings, let the TV people charge more for the ads since there’s less of them, they’ll be fine. Pitching changes was another point of yours. How about limiting the number of pitchers a team can use on a given day? How about limiting the number of pitchers available per day in September when the entire farm system for each team is sitting in the dugout?

    In today’s game, pitchers and batters, and their coaches and managers have exponentially more data to work with. It would almost be criminal to prevent the use of these newfound tools throughout the game. These tools also have the unintended impact of slowing the game down via constantly shifting players and pitchers waiting for their defense to get set behind them. Perhaps it’s a bit simplistic to boil it down to a pitch clock, because it’s not always about the pitcher, but about the defending team as a whole. Perhaps the more appropriate clock would be that after the pitcher comes set the batter has x number of seconds to be ready to receive the next pitch. I don’t think everyone in the park and watching on TV has tuned in to watch Adam Jones adjust his batting gloves again( for the 12th time today), but in my observations, having the batter ready for the next pitch is the single biggest thing that could be done to improve the pace of the game. There is already rule 5.04 (b) which states that
    (1) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat. And,

    (2) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup.

    If umpires were simply to start enforcing these rules and not grant players “time” every other pitch, this alone could shave valuable minutes off the length of games.

    I think I’ve gone over my allotted time, and my beer is just about empty, so I conclude with my final thought. The length of games is indeed a serious problem, but implementing a pitch clock will not be the panacea.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Drink chip for time served. Again, I don’t see much being done in between innings that could slightly affect bottom line financially.

  7. tfconway

    February 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Yes, the pace of play must be shortened. The MLB is concerned about attracting younger fans, and turning them into lifelong fans. But those young fans can’t stay up late every night in the Spring and Fall months due to school. I used to fall asleep listening to Chuck Thompson and Bill O’Donnell on a transistor radio under my pillow, but even though I had to be in bed at 9, I could listen to the end of the game because it would generally be over by 9:30. Not anymore. Games routinely go past 11 PM on weeknights, and no young fan is going to be able to stay up that late all the time. Heck, for us working adults, that’s asking a lot. So yeah, considering that more than half of the games are played on weeknights, they’ve got to do something to get them in by 10 PM, or better yet, 9:30.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

      I’d say most games wrap up at 10:15 if they are on the East Coast. But that’s still late for kids (and some adults) on a consistent basis.

      • Raveonjo

        February 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm

        Up until 1972, home games started at 8PM. I don’t remember too many games ending at 9:30. On another note, I have a painting of the Orioles celebrating their Game 5 win over the Reds. The scoreboard clock in the background reads “3:47”. That was llate enough for a 5th grader like me to get home from school and see the final innings and celebrate outside afterwards. Today’s 5th graders may see the first few innings, but are sound asleep by the end of the game.

        As far as the tap-in question, I think (with all due respect) it can be improved. The commissioner has said it’s not the length of the game but the pace of play that needs to get better. Speed up the pace and the length of the game won’t matter to the fans.

  8. circlechange

    February 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Shorten the game? Maybe. Improve the pace of play? Definitely. Pitchers taking too much time, batters stepping out if the pitcher does speed up a bit, catchers walking to the mound every other pitch with a runner on second. As much as I like O’Day I can’t stand watching him pitch. He takes sooooo long between pitches…worse than Josh Beckett ever was. It’s like, c’mon man, I’m not getting any younger.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:15 am

      O’Day is one of baseball’s slowest. Be thankful he pitches an inning at a time.

  9. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    February 5, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I like the idea of moving the game along. Some hitters have a long routine keeping them in the batters box limits that to a degree. When David Ortiz was playing it was like a commercial break between pitches.

    However, as you noted the game has evolved into matchups and mound visits. This coupled with starters pitching less innings and more reliance on the bull pen.

    I think tweaking aspects of the game can keep fans more involved by quickening the pace. Its never hurts to make slight adjustments to the great game of baseball.

  10. Wade Warren

    February 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

    instant Replay takes to long. if I play takes longer that 1 or 2 minutes play stands as called. if game is taking to long leave the ball park or turn tv off simple solution Manfred leave the game alone. I thought Steroid Selig was bad for the game but you are worse.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Drink chip, Wade, on the instant replay. Way too much time invested that should have a shot clock. Not sure how much it increases overall length. But 3-4 minutes aren’t needed.

  11. Marshall

    February 5, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Already covered:

    Pitch Clock
    Mound Visits
    Between pitch shenanigans by the batters with accouterment
    Start times are too late because the games are too long.
    TV “lag” time

    Add to the review list:

    Eliminate infield shifts – Unneeded delay. It’s unnatural to vacate a position to field elsewhere and it sucks for the batter and the fans. It’s not fun.

    No batter timeouts at all – unless there is imminent danger or cause for concern to a player’s safety or an interruption in the game (beach balls on the field) I’ll take time for a fly in the eye. Tactical timeouts for disrupting timing or again, adjusting gloves and what not, get rid of it.

    Bullpen carts for all! – No Lee Smith walks to the mound

    -M

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Can we get a dugout cart for John Gibbons?

  12. CharlesVillageChris

    February 5, 2018 at 11:19 am

    It may be apocryphal, but I read that the biggest driver for lengthening modern baseball games is the advanced strike zone tracking. Umpires used to shorten games that needed to be shortened: if a team was down by 10 in the eighth then suddenly the strike zone grew enormous.

    Umpires know today that they’re being shadowed by technology and every call is, stored, saved, and analyzed. So we as fans lost the ability to breeze through blowouts. Over the course of a season that adds up.

    Is it so terrible for fans though? It’s a culprit in ballooning game time, and kills bullpen arms, but every now and then it allows a team to make a good comeback.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      I’m not fully buying that simply because most of the umpires have their own zones and don’t seem to care how much it varies. And so, without any stats research supporting my theory, my mind’s eye still sees expanded strike zones in blowouts. But I could be wrong.

  13. BARay

    February 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I vote for shortening the game. The incessant mound visits should be first to go. And all of the batter timeouts. Eliminate those two things alone will cut 10-15 minutes from each game. I attend about 15-20 games per year, mainly during the week. I have to get up early to work. My wife and I typically leave at 9, regardless of the score. Occasionally 9:30 for really special games. But I have to work. And kids have school. No reason those 7pm games can’t be over by 9:30 or so.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      I don’t think we will ever see 2:30 again on a consistent basis. I’d be shocked. But 2:50 should be more than reasonable.

  14. phildell

    February 5, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Attending a game and watching a game on TV are two entirely different experiences. At the ballpark, there are lots of things to take in during “normal” lulls in the action. Watching on TV, you’re subjected to the announcer’s perspective of what might be happening. And that can greatly influence my enjoyment (or lack there of) of the game.
    What needs to be controlled are the maddening trips to the mound…especially by catchers.
    Additionally, once a hitter is in the batter’s box…stay there!
    And lastly, if it’s obvious a change is going to be made, please have the sign to the bullpen made before the manager or coach crosses the foul line enroute to the mound rather than have a conference with every infielder involved, and as the umpire starts toward the mound, then signal for the change.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Makes sense. I especially agree on the catchers’ trips. Almost completely not needed. Once or twice a game, sure. 7 Times? Nope

  15. Birdman

    February 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Its clear that MLB has a real problem with the slow pace of play and the length of its games. Manfred isn’t pushing this issue just for something to do. I’m sure MLB has pretty solid market research showing that the ever increasing length of games is alienating its audience. Even hardcore baseball fans posting comments on a site like this find it difficult to take – imagine how it is for a more casual fan to sit through a three and a half hour game.

    I see a lot of discussion about speeding up the pitchers, and pitchers are certainly part of the problem. But my pet peeve about the pace of play is the amount of time wasted by batters stepping out of the box between pitches. Check out video of a MLB game from the early 1970s. You will see that most batters stayed in the box between every pitch. Today, the opposite appears true, with many batters stepping out
    after each pitch to go through an OCD type of ritual — its excruciating.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      That is definitely something MLB is targeting. Get in the box and stay in the box.

  16. plucknstrum

    February 5, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    If memory serves correctly, the “empty stadium” game between the O’s and White Sox a few years ago was played in a crisp 2 hours 8 minutes. There’s gotta be some correlation between that game and pace of play. Just not sure what it is. To the question at hand — yes the games do need sped up a little bit. Probably just a little “tweaking” here and there.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      It was actually 2 hours and three minutes. 10 runs were scored and 6 pitchers pitched — no changes within an inning tho — so maybe we just ban fans altogether. They must be the problem. :).

  17. bv22

    February 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t mind the pace of play all that much; I know going into a game that I’m devoting about 3 hours to that game. During the playoffs though, it’s completely different- it just seems like playoff games take forever. I think the 3 reasons you outlined above are all reasonable changes to make, and would have a positive impact on playing time over the institution of a pitch clock. I think the problem though is that the game has changed and been designed for more offense, which ultimately makes games last longer. From shrinking the strike zone to smaller ballparks, to different wood being used for bats, to purposely driving up pitch counts, everything has been done to increase offense in the game for the sake of creating “action.” If they really want to shave some time off of games, then maybe they should mandate increased foul territories in all ballparks to aid in creating a few quick outs on foul balls, put a cap on the number of foul balls a batter is allowed before being called out (this would probably increase a starter’s average innings/game by an inning/game where 100 pitches can get you through 6 innings rather than 5), and maybe even shorten commercial breaks by doing in-game commercials with two viewing windows on the tv screen the way the NFL has started to this year. Those changes, along with the ones you laid out, would probably have a positive impact on game time, as well as be met with considerably less resistance from the players union.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      The foul ball thing really intrigues me. My buddy Jim Henneman has suggested a cap on foul balls that would constitute an out. And I think there is something to that. It would be a radical change. But think about it. The third foul, for instance, of an atbat is an out. That will change swings too. Intriguing anyway.

  18. noto44

    February 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    This is an issue which continues to generate discussion. Baseball needs to keep game time in the forefront otherwise people feel that baseball is unsympathetic to people’s concerns.
    I say, people, because fans rarely complain about game length.

    Was the Super Bowl too long, yes, was the Terps-Wisconsin game drawn out by the fouls in the final minutes,yes.

    Game time for sports is such a win-lose proposition. Do you draw the line to speed games up for a few minutes or do ask people to languish in the final minutes for a game to end.

    Keep this topic alive because I enjoy hearing ideas about game length. Where is Charlie Finley or Bill Veeck when we need them. Maybe we should listen to Vince McMahon’s ideas. Actually, I would suggest to continue discussion time issues with folks like Theo Epstein, Dan Duquette or MLB baseball.

    Do you prefer a 2-1 game or 10-9 game? Give me a game that is what I want!

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      There is a committee that was formed to discuss pace of play. And Buck Showalter — understandably — was one of the members. He loves looking into that kind of stuff.

  19. James Conlon

    February 5, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t ho to many games anymore…too far away, but do the fans think the games are too long? I don’t think they do. I don’t mind the pitching clock…seeing the pitcher stalling is boring. I think time between innings could be shortened, TV will adjust. Also limited mound visits would. I like the automatic intentional walk; erases wasted time. I DO NOT like the putting a runner on second in extra innings…that really changes for no reason. Also, start games earlier…TV creates now fans. but not if they have to go to bed in the 7th inning. Also play more weekend and holiday games in the daytime. TV will adjust. Just some thoughts. length of games won’t chase me away

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      I like your ideas. I’m just not sure that TV will adjust. Or that MLB wants to take that risk. There’s a lot of revenue dollars are stake if the gut sense that TV will adjust is wrong. It may not be. But it’s a risk.

  20. ClyOs

    February 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Baseball is a game which has no clock, and it should stay that way.The reasons games are running longer is due to the evolution of the game. A complete game by a pitcher is a rarity in this era, and every batter has a “route” between every pitch they have been doing since little league. TV has more commercial, and instant replay is becoming more and more common. Just waiting for the replay, to see if the mangers wants to challenge and call for a replay seems to happen 4/5 times a game. Honestly, I don’t see any of that going away anytime soon, so if it takes 3 hours to play the game it takes 3 hours to play the game.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      All solid arguments. Changing pitchers and the change in pitchers are certainly contributing factors

  21. Paul Folkemer

    February 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I’d love to see the umpires actually enforce the “hitters must stay in the batter’s box” rule that was implemented in 2016. Last year, it seems like the rule was completely abandoned. A lot of hitters were routinely stepping out of the box after every pitch.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Agreed. No way that was even close to enforced.

  22. JerseyOsFan

    February 5, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    My thoughts: I went to a minor league game where there was a 20 second pitch clock. It was only implmented when no one was on base and I am OK with that. It kept the game going and the batter in the box. With runners on, yes.. signs need to be communicated. Some pitchouts and throw overs and maybe the occasional stall by the pitcher or batter to make some drama. Maybe a 40-45 second clock (at most) with a runner on to keep some drama of the situation alive. Then each time we have a dramatic situation (pickoff, pitcher steps off, batter defuses the situation with a timeout), we take off 5 seconds to avoid needless pickoff attempts or other unneeded drama. Institute that in the minors first to see if that works. That could help pace of play.

    I also believe that the DH rule in the AL has something to do with so many pitchers. Not having to make a double switch helps to make extra pitching changes easier and helped aid the advance of the situational pitcher.

    • JerseyOsFan

      February 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      At least it seems that way when I see NL games (rest of the family are Mets fans, so I follow the Mets so I can join in the discussion) there are less pitcher changes. Maybe it’s just me….

      Only other thing I see is less between innings time, but when would I be able to get food or other important things?

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      And as I’ve said above, less time in-between innings makes a lot of sense. But there’s probably too much money to be lost there — both with advertising and, as you point out, concessions.

  23. Ben1

    February 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Wish for shorter games whem Os are losing 10 to 2 or similar. Like it when drama sets in except for constant pitcher changes for every batter.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Come on Ben, when are the Orioles down 10-2? I kid cuz I can.

  24. bigdaddydk

    February 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    One time saving measure I actually don’t like is the intentional walk without pitches. It saves all of about a minute every couple of games, so it’s not making much of a difference. Plus, I like the idea of a hitter, once in a blue moon, taking a cut at a close pitch during an IBB. But limit the number of mound visits and put a clock on those, except for injuries. Exceed the limit and the batter gets a ball. Any subsequent violations for that team result in an intentional base on balls. Eliminate batters stepping out to adjust everything they have on (batting gloves, helmet, necklace, protective cup, etc.) between pitches. Once you’re in the box, you’re in the box until your at bat ends, except for injuries or imminent danger. Violate the rule and it’s a strike call. I’d say that limiting the frequency of pitching changes would help too. Maybe specify that a pitcher must face minimum two hitters once he enters the game (with the exception of an injury to that pitcher or him getting the last out of the inning.) Situational match-ups and the age of the specialist (the LOOGY, for example) mean that we go through a bunch of pitchers every night. If the specialist coming in to face the lefty also has to face the next guy, no matter what side he hits from, a manager might think a bit more about lifting a guy who has a rough time getting the first out in the sixth inning.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 5, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      It’s funny. The auto IBB/non-auto IBB seems so incidental to me. It doesn’t really save time but it’s not noticeable or disruptive either. I’ve covered 1000s of games and think I’ve only seen something odd in an intentional walk twice.

  25. Odetta240

    February 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Count all foul balls as strikes. That’ll move things along. Pitchers will last more than five innings because of pitch count and it’ll cut down on so much hitting.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 7, 2018 at 1:25 am

      As in strike 3? Hmmm. Huge advantage to the pitcher then.

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