Baseball knows that it can be slow. Anyone who watched all of the 18 inning marathon the other day between the Giants and Nationals can attest to that. It was the longest game in playoff history, but only tied for the longest innings played. And the score was 2-1, which means there was a LOT of watching nothing happen.
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To that end, as the Arizona Fall League is underway, MLB is trying a few new rule changes to get things going. First off is their version of the NFL play clock:
But this is not the only strategy. Other rules include:
– Intentional Walks won’t involve actually throwing them. The manager will signal and the hitter will take his base.
– Hitters have to actually stay inside the batter’s box between pitches.
– Pitching changes get 2 and a half minutes. If the time is exceeded, a ball is called.
– At Salt River home games only, the pitcher gets 20 seconds to throw a pitch and the batter must be ready. During this time if the batter steps out of the box, the pitcher can pitch and the umpire would call a strike.
It is good that MLB is taking a look at these ideas, and I hope that certain ones stay to help improve the pace. MLB has used the AFL to try out certain initiatives like replay before, and this seems like as good a opportunity as any. After all, there really is no reason a 2-1 game should last 4 hours.