MLB is hastening the pace of the game

May 23, 2008 at 12:11 pm 2 comments


Major League Baseball is doing something that has needed to be done for a long time; they are speeding up the pace of the game.

This is an excerpt (almost the entire article to be exact) from

Following a discussion on pace of game at last week’s Owners Meetings in Milwaukee, Major League Baseball today held a series of conference calls with each Club’s field manager, general manager and in-game entertainment staff and with all Major League umpire crew chiefs. The calls were organized by MLB’s Baseball Operations Department, headed by Executive Vice President Jimmie Lee Solomon.

During the calls, Major League Baseball advised all participants that umpires will be more vigilant in the enforcement of matters pertaining to the improvement of pace of game efforts, including, but not limited to, Official Baseball Rules 6.02(a), 6.02(b), 6.02(c) and 8.04.

This is good news to those who enjoy the game of baseball but claim not to watch it due to too much down time or it being too boring. The only problem I see is that umpires may not fully adhere to the rules and keep doing things the way they currently do.

Regarding Rule 6.02, umpires have been asked to:

-Actively call the batter to approach home plate from the on-deck circle and enter the batter’s box.

-Not grant “time” to a batter who asks for time once the pitcher has begun his delivery. If the batter leaves the batter’s box without time and the pitcher delivers a pitch, the umpire will call the pitch as if the batter had not left the box.

-Warn a batter who is lingering outside the batter’s box to return to the box. If the batter refuses to enter the box, the umpire will issue an automatic strike to the batter without a pitch having to be delivered.

I love this and hope this is enforced to the fullest. I hate it when a batter lingers outside of the batter’s box and the pitcher is ready. I hope this scenario occurs a couple times and we see either a strike ruled or the pitcher throw a pitch while the batter is lingering. This would set an example and let the hitters know the umps aren’t playing around.

Regarding Rule 8.04, umpires have been asked to:

-Actively encourage the pitcher to take his position on the pitching rubber.
Warn a pitcher for his first violation of the 12-second time limit.

-Issue the pitcher a “ball” for each subsequent violation of the 12-second time limit.
In addition to the reinforcement of the Official Baseball Rules, other measures that will be actively encouraged by the umpires include the following:

-Conferences on the pitcher’s mound will be broken up more quickly, especially when the visitor is not prompt to the mound.

-Pitchers coming from the dugout should arrive at the mound between half-innings so that they can complete their eight warm-up pitches in conjunction with the resumption of play promptly at the appropriate time after the half-inning breaks.

-Pitchers entering from the bullpen should leave the bullpen immediately after being signaled into the game and should arrive at the mound in time to complete their eight warm-up pitchers in conjunction with the resumption of play promptly at the appropriate time after the half-inning breaks.

-Each Club will be directed to have a reserve player or coach available between half-innings to warm up the pitcher when the active catcher is putting on his equipment.

-Batboys will be directed to have a second bat readily available in the event that a hitter’s bat breaks.

Some of those things above are a little foolish and may never come into play but I love the fact they want the pitcher to be ready and enforce it. This will make Steve Trachsel a little angry but who cares.

If the pitchers follow these rules I think it will only help them. It will force the batters to be in the batter’s box on time and if they aren’t the ready pitcher could be rewarded a strike. More strikes there are the faster the game.

Umpires also will be charged with reporting all clubs that fail to observe MLB regulations regarding in-game entertainment, public address announcements and the playing of music and video presentations.

Clubs will be subject to fines for repeated violations of these requirements.

This last part is a little ridiculous to me but I do believe it will make the game faster.

I am all for these rules to be put into play and to be executed to near fullness but I do think the rules should not get in the way of the fans at all. If the fans want to hear Mariano Rivera come out to “Enter Sandman” without it being cut short then so be it. But I think silly lingering is what takes so long and slows the game.

One rule I think should be put into play is a limit on pick off attempts during a single at-bat. I’m tired of seeing a pitcher get his signs, the batter dig in, the runner get his lead for the 4th time and the 4th throw in a row goes over to first just to start the whole process over again. I don’t know what kind of rule would work but I do think this needs to be addressed.

Anyway, I love the fact the pace is getting better and I think fans will enjoy the game that much more.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell
some info taken from

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. supremesportsjustice  |  May 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Okay, was going to write on this topic, but you beat me to it Jonathan. Nice job….however, I for one, don’t think time is an issue. Especially when I’m at a game…I want my money’s worth, and in some warped way, the longer the game, the more I feel I got my money’s worth.

    And as a fan who loves being at a game…I could care less how long a game lasts. The same holds true on TV. In my opinion, if a fan can get bored with a game because it takes a few minutes longer…then that’s not a true fan of the game. What difference does it make if I watch a game in 2:45 as opposed to 2:35? If I can’t put up with the additional ten minutes, there’s something wrong.

    And unfortunately, your last rule proposal would never fly, because it would affect the game too much. You just can’t limit the amount of throws to first base. It would have a direct impact on strategy, stats, and possibly the outcome.
    I know I’m in the minority here, but I see no reason to speed up the game.

    Great article despite my beliefs!

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  May 23, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks. I do agree with you on my own behalf of the length of the game when I am at the game but not when I am watching on tv. I will tivo a game and fastforward in bewteen pitches. My money’s worth isn’t in the time it’s in the game and I think hastening the pace will allow for more baseball and less “keeping the hitter or pitcher off balance”. I don’t think it works. Just play the game.

    The reason MLB wants to do this and the reason I agree is to get those (like many of my friends) to watch and attend a game that they claim is too “long” or too “boring”.

    I know the rule I proposed would never fly but it is the main thing that bothers the crap out of me. I hate seeing 5 throws to first in a row. I honestly think the stolen base is a bit overrated (I’m not under-crediting the stolen base but I think it is a bit exaggerated as a stat and skill but still an important one, but that’s another story).


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