Commissioner Rob Manfred is determined to pick up the pace of the game, apparently to keep the interest of the younger generation.
It is a good idea to be progressive, as long as Manfred doesn’t get extreme.
Games are slower. This season, the average time of game is 3 hours, 5 minutes, five minutes longer than last season. In 2015, Manfred’s first year as commissioner, the average time was 2 hours, 56 minutes.
Manfred is more interested in picking up the pace of the game, getting rid of dead time, regardless of the final time of game. But less dead time would cut the average length.
The pace-of-play changes might not get out of hand, especially if Manfred listens to his 16-member competition committee, which includes Nationals owner Mark Lerner; managers Mike Matheny of St. Louis, Buck Showalter of the Orioles and Joe Girardi of the Yankees; and Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar and John Smoltz.
Seems like that group will be reasonable.
Eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk was inconsequential. Boring play, but it doesn’t save any time.
And it would be silly to start each half of extra innings with a baserunner on second.
Chances of that happening are slim. That’s good for low-level minor league games because it would save on pitching.
But as baseball has evolved into a battle of bullpens, why not look at ways to get rid of dead time in the late innings?
Rules that were written more than a century ago were written at a time when rotations dominated and bullpens were non-existent.
It is time to update the rules - or at least consider changes that can add crispness to the final innings.
When relievers come into a game, they should have to face a minimum of two batters. That’s a good idea.
How about putting a limit on the number or relievers that can be used per inning? That’s too drastic.
Limiting mound visits by infielders and catchers? That works.
Eliminating warmups when a new pitcher comes in? No, because a pitcher should be able to get a feel for the mound, which is different that a bullpen mound.
If the pitch clock helps pitchers develop habits that are quicker, then that’s a good thing.
Should managers have 30 seconds to decide if they want a replay challenge? No, because usually those delays are technical. Hey, baseball has to allow for computer glitches.
Manfred says Major League Baseball will consider cutting commercial time between innings. If that could be done, fans would take that.