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Bat571And the HP ump can allow time after a WP, PB, or foul that the catcher removes his mask, so everybody can get resituated.32 min 27 sec ago
Bat571And the umps can grant time for fouls that hit one of the three of them (batter, catcher, ump) or after 5 pitches, but otherwise, the at-bat proceeds. Mound conferences with the catcher should be limited, probably twice per inning, plus once for a replaced pitcher but only if a runner gets to second, and if more attend than the catcher it should count as a coaching visit. Then just let the umps enforce it.36 min 3 sec ago
Bat571I don't want to change the rules of the game (balls/strikes/fouls/pickoffs) - I just want the batter to get in the box and the pitcher to throw the ball. The step-outs and timeouts are out-of-hand. Starting with Hargrove and Garciaparra, it's degenerated. Once the batter steps in, he can't step out for the first 5 pitches, then every 3 pitches after, max time 5 seconds. If your gloves really are loose, you can tighten them in 5 seconds. But get in and hit. The pitch delivery rules are fine, if enforced. And again, make a rule that the crew chief can request a clock be displayed if a pitcher or hitter is dawdling, so the fans can get on him, but don't make it a regular feature. If Josh Beckett had the whole stadium counting down for him, he'd start doing it right, and it wouldn't be needed. 2 warnings from the HP ump and it goes up on the big screen for folks to sing along.46 min 16 sec ago
SABR Mattthe problem, of course, is that there's no way in hades that MLB can cut down the commercial breaks...all of their revenue deals assume those breaks49 min 10 sec ago
SABR Mattthe time out between half innings was, in the 80s, 90 seconds, and is now 125 seconds.1 hour 8 sec ago
moethedogI'm with Bat: Simply don't allow a batter to step out of the box, unless knocked out, etc. And I agree with Daddy about the un-need for a "shot" clock. To shorten a game by 30 minutes you need to shorten every inning by just 3 minutes and change. Shorten every 1/2 inning by 90 seconds and you get there. I don't see pitchers as being the problem. I do see the batter's ridiculous routine, especially with batting gloves as a problem. Heck, if you outlawed batting gloves you could probably shorten the game by 20 minutes. And TV is partially to blame, as it is with the delays in any sport. TV timeouts have ruined the flowing nature of the NBA and college b-ball. How much longer is the between inning gap today, compared to 20 years ago? With nearly every game now being televised it must certainly have driven up the average between-inning time.1 hour 56 min ago
SABR MattDaddyO...I would be all for your suggestion if I didn't know that, at present, the average distance a pitcher misses the catcher's mitt is 11". :)2 hours 16 sec ago
DaddyOMatt, my thought was that it would change the way pitchers pitch, forcing them to throw more strikes and fewer waste pitches. I admit it's a radical thought, and I'm not actually proposing it, just noodlin'.2 hours 57 min ago
mojicianIf the sublime aesthetic of the Samurai duel between pitcher and batter doesn't draw or interest a fan, maybe he should try football.3 hours 6 min ago
SABR MattAnd limiting 2 strike fouls might counter-balance the prior comment some, but would totally break the game, IMHO. Fouling off pitcher's pitches is a skill that separates great contact hitters from poor ones.3 hours 10 min ago
SABR Mattdropping the walk ball count to 3 would lengthen games by a lot. It would increase on base percentages by 50 points or more.3 hours 12 min ago
mojicianI dunno about speeding up at bats. Here's Exhbiit A: On April 24, 2014, the Mariners were 8 and 15, had lost 8 games in a row, and were about to be swept by the Houston Lastros. In the ninth inning, Kyle Seager of the sub-Mendoza average, came to bat with two men on base. He worked the count through ten pitches before hitting a three run home run that became the defining turning point in the season.3 hours 12 min ago
DaddyOIt seems to me also that the automated strike zone would be helpful in reducing the time of games. Greg Maddux made famous the art of inducing batters to swing at balls off the plate because umpires would give him strike calls if he demonstrated the ability to continue to hit his spot 3 to 4 inches outside. A cat and mouse game has developed over the years between hitters and pitchers. Taken to it's ultimate conclusion, it is Red Sox and Oakland A's baseball. Work walks, and endlessly spoil pitches just off the plate. Instead of at-bats being resolved, they are prolonged to ridiculous lengths.4 hours 24 min ago
Bat571Just limiting time-outs and step-outs (of the batter's box) would help.4 hours 54 min ago
Bat571The Wolcott game I'm referring to is the one where he threw 80 pitches and the game lasted just over 2 hours (against Oakland, I believe). But it was like the Walker game - both pitchers got the ball and pitched and everyone kept in the game - I'd love to hear Jay Buhner talk about maintaining the pace of games, since he won that one with a homer in the ninth as I recall.4 hours 55 min ago
DaddyOIf you REALLY wanted to speed up the game, you'd reduce the number of balls that would trigger a "base on balls" to three. It'll never happen, but it would eliminate a lot of lengthy pitcher nibbling. Another thing you could do would be to limit the number of foul balls. After two strikes count a third foul ball as a strikeout. Again, it'll never happen, and I'm not sure it should, but it's the kind of thing that would have a dramatic impact.5 hours 8 min ago
Bat571Walker v. Buehrle or the Bob Wolcott game or any of Maddux's 2 hr. games ought to be the model - look at what everyone: pitchers, hitters, fielders, and umps did in those games and try to see if you can get that to work. Don't use a visible clock unless the pitcher or hitter continually delay - then do it electronically on a big board at the discretion of the crew chief to get things back on track. Having it all the time would distract from the flow of the battle - but using it on Mike Hargrove or in certain Yankee-Red Sox games would have been a blessing!5 hours 16 min ago
csiemsI think most of the "too long" cries come from east coast media who have to watch Yankees-Red Sox games. I also think it's funny when I meet people who think the game is too long who also want more home runs. Pitching duels tend to move quickly; it's slugfests like yesterday's that tend to go long.5 hours 35 min ago
DaddyOI agree with every reasonable attempt to speed up the game, but a big clock and a hard time limit between pitches is IMO not the way to go. Last night's game is a perfect example. When the drama builds, and everything's riding on a particular pitch, the idea that the catcher would have to hustle through his signs, and the pitcher hustle to deliver the pitch would simply spoil the drama inherent in the game. Baseball take place in time, but it is not a timed sport. Somehow that needs to be kept.5 hours 52 min ago
SABR Mattthere should be a time out limit of one per plate appearance for the batter.6 hours 3 min ago