If MLB Really Wants to Speed Up the Game, Here's How to Do It
As a baseball fan, I can freely admit that the game has a few faults that need to be fixed. For instance, games do tend to be a bit long, and it appears that Major League Baseball is figuring this out. They are supposedly going to be taking steps to speed things up a bit, starting next season. And they're going to do so by making that stupid-ass fake-throw-to-third-real-throw-to-first pickoff move a real balk.
That's a nice start, but let's face it, that only happens about once a game, at most. So it's not really going to affect the time-of-game stat that much. Which is why I have a few suggestions on speeding up the game a bit.
9. Why don't the umpires actually start calling balks?
You want to cut time from a game, then cut down on the number of throws over to first when a decent runner is on base. You know how people have always marveled at how effective Andy Pettitte's move to first base is? That's because it's a balk. Call that a balk a few times and he'll stop throwing over there 90 times an inning.
8. Let's eliminate the Seventh Inning Stretch, particularly on Sundays
Yes, it's tradition. But most teams play two songs during that time, and TV is generally back to catch about 30-45 seconds of fans standing around doing nothing. And it's longer on Sunday as they make a Broadway production number out of "God Bless America," then "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," then whatever song that particular team uses, "Deep in the Heart of Texas," "Sweet Caroline," etc.
7. Do you really want to speed things up?
The clock is ticking.
Then order the umpires to acknowledge the existence of the entire strike zone. There will be a lot less 3-2 counts if a pitch above the knee or a pitch just under the armpit is called a strike like it's supposed to be called. And there'll be less time with pitchers standing on the mound, stressing over pitches, if they know they don't have to throw the perfect strike to get a strike call. It'll also speed things up since there'll be fewer walks.
6. Speaking of walks, let's just eliminate the four-pitch intentional walk
If a team wants to intentionally walk a batter, just have the catcher stand and hold up four fingers, or something, then have the umpire order the batter to take first base.
5. I'm calling this the Brad Mills Rule: If you need to use a different pitcher for each batter, for seven straight batters, to get seven outs, then you need to be fired because you suck as a manager
There really needs to be a rule to prevent a manager from using his entire bullpen in a game, unless there's an injury, because nothing takes as much time as it takes a manager to walk to the mound, to motion to the bullpen, for the reliever to jog in, then take his warm-up pitches, then adjust his cup, then adjust his cap, then talk to his catcher, then talk to the first baseman who's come over for a chat, then chat with the home plate umpire who comes over to break things up.