Baseball fans agree on few things, but if there's any one thing upon which all fans agree, it's that most games take too damn long to play. Major League games, which took an average of two hours and 50 minutes in 2010, lasted more than three hours last season. And this can't be blamed on an offensive explosion with home run after home run followed by pitching change after pitching change.
MLB has a cunning plan to speed up the pace of games, which means it'll never be adopted
Reports trickled out last week that things might be changing, starting in the minor leagues, but hopefully soon moving up to the majors. The biggest change would be a pitch clock, proposed for use in the AA and AAA minor leagues this upcoming season, positioned at various locations around the stadium. The pitcher will have 20 seconds to make the pitch, and if he doesn't, then a ball will called by the umpire. Tied into this would be enhanced enforcement of the rule stating that batters must keep one foot in the batter's box at all times.
These are all good steps that will help to move baseball along at a crisper pace. It's stuff, however, that can actually be done now. Rule 6.02(d)(1) states that a batter must keep one foot in the box at all times -- there are exceptions, of course. And Rule 8.04 states that a pitcher has 12 seconds to throw a pitch once the batter is in the box. If the batter is outside the box and delaying a pitch, then a strike is supposed to be called on the batter. If the pitcher takes longer than 12 seconds, then a ball is supposed to be called.More »