For the fifth consecutive MLB season, we are on pace to set the record for the average time of the game in baseball…in a bad way. Games this year are averaging over three hours and five minutes, and it seems like they are never shorter than that average. In the American League it’s over three hours and ten minutes.
What is all the more astonishing is that other teams have addressed their problems head on, and baseball continues to sit on their hands. The NFL has eliminated the commercial break after kickoffs following scoring plays. The NBA has limited the number of overall timeouts from nine to seven, with only two in the final two minutes. The NHL has not made any changes but let’s face it, they don’t have a pace or length of game problem. So while other sports change their issues baseball stays the same and the game continues to decline in popularity. The only times baseball is talked about on a national level is during the World Series, after a brawl, or after an incredible play.
National baseball TV ratings are down over 15%. So here is my five point plan to speed up the game and hopefully bring interest in the game back up:
Fifteen Second Pitch Clock
Way too often we see it after a pitch the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher. The pitcher steps off the mound rub the ball, adjust your cap, spit out sunflower seeds, touch your hair, deep breath, tug the jersey, stare in get the signal, shake it off, step back off, walk around the mound, rub the ball all over again. No more of that once you get the ball back you have fifteen seconds to throw the ball or a ball gets added to the count period. THROW THE DAMN BALL. The minor leagues work with a pitch clock and I would love to see that implemented in the MLB.
Batter Stay In The Box
The Batter is just a guilty in this situation, while the pitcher is doing all his nonsense. The batter steps out practice swing, adjust your gloves, adjust your cup, adjust your elbow pad, touch your helmet, deep breath, stretch step, back in. This has to end. I will remember until the day I die an at-bat in the 2013 season between Junichi Tazawa of the Boston Red Sox, and Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees. This was during the either the tenth or eleventh inning of that game, the Yankees had two out and nobody on. The at-bat lasted fifteen minutes after Gardner fouled off 13 straight pitches. But what made it worse was that in between each pitch both Tazawa and Gardner stepped off the mound and out of the box and went through a whole routine. The MLB experienced with this, including fines if players would step out, which David Ortiz was notorious for, but this plan did not pan out.
Limit Mound Visits
A number of mound visits need to be limited to three a game and that means from anybody, the Manager, the Pitching Coach and the Catcher. Three times a game that is it, and the manager doesn’t have to go out to get him either just signal him into the dugout and the reliever RUN IN FROM THE BULLPEN YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE RUN.
Umpire’s Call The Entire Strike Zone
The legal strike zone is from the letters to the knees and it has not been called that way by MLB umpires in years. Anything that is in the strike zone is a strike period no ball that is above the plate, and between the letters and knees is called a ball.
Every Reliver Has To Face Three Batters
No more of this three relievers for three batters nonsense that we can all thank Tony La Russa for. You bring a reliever into the game he has to face three batters pending injury obviously.
If MLB were to put all these rules into effect and were able to shave the game down to between 2:30-2:45 people would tune back in and the popularity will get back to where it should be.