Game Pace and the Mark Buehrle Effect

We’re talking about pace-of-game again, in light of the recent vote to identify the next commissioner. Baseball games are taking longer and longer, with replay and constant shifting only adding to the length, and while certain fans believe it’s no issue because that’s just the beauty of baseball, this is one of those areas where you need to look at the big picture, and most people would prefer that games take less time. Baseball games now have a greater duration with the same amount of action, and that’s not the stuff of anyone’s dreams.

Cutting down on game length isn’t as easy as identifying that baseball should want to cut down on game length. The commercial breaks are always going to be there, because they need to be. Teams aren’t going to be real receptive to ideas that limit bullpen usage and flexibility. Every so often someone brings up the idea of a pitch clock, and maybe that’s the sort of step that needs to be taken. The best target for time reduction are all the seconds that pass between pitches. At least, that’s how people frequently feel. They don’t feel like that so much when Mark Buehrle‘s on the mound.

Buehrle’s an old veteran approaching retirement, but at the same time, he might be the future. For as long as we have data, no pitcher has worked faster than Buehrle, and no pitcher has really come close. With Buehrle, there’s no dicking around on the mound — there’s just get ball and throw ball. Baseball would be better off if more pitchers looked to Buehrle as a role model, although perhaps his personal standard is too extreme. Said Brandon McCarthy, on the right time for a pitch clock:

“Whatever Mark Buehrle is, add two or three seconds on to that.”

Brett Anderson, from May:

This year, Buehrle’s Pace stands at 17.3 seconds. That is, he averages 17.3 seconds between pitches, and that’s right around his career mark during the PITCHf/x era. The league-average Pace is about 23 seconds. The league-average Pace for starters is 22.3 seconds. Buehrle’s faster by 22%, and that isn’t unexpected, because he’s always been like this.

Of course, the pace is only so much up to the pitchers. Hitters have their own little superstitious wastes of time, and while it was cute when it seemed to be isolated to Nomar Garciaparra, now it seems like most of the league makes a habit of stepping out and readjusting something between every pitch. There are quicker-working hitters and there are slower-working hitters, which means the pitchers can’t determine the pace alone. But they can do an awful lot, and as proof, let’s consider Mark Buehrle this year against the slowest-working hitters in the majors.

Some time ago I examined matchups between Buehrle and Carlos Pena, because Pena was slow as all hell. This time I took a bigger sample. From 2014, I examined all of Buehrle’s matchups against hitters with Pace marks of 25+ seconds. Together these hitters have an average Pace of 25.7 seconds, 12% slower than average. Between those guys and Buehrle, I was able to make 105 Pace readings. The average: 21.5 seconds. In other words, against the slowest hitters in baseball, Mark Buehrle had to be a little patient, but he still managed to get the guys to work quicker than the average bat against the average arm. Buehrle responded to the hitters’ collective behavior, but the hitters also responded to Buehrle’s haste.

Here’s Buehrle looking on while Alex Avila actively avoided playing baseball:

BuehrleAvila2

So for now, hitters are going to do their things, no matter who’s on the mound. They still have some control over the tempo, but they’ll hurry up if desired. That’s promising. Also promising: what happens when Buehrle works against the fastest hitters in the majors.

I examined the matchups between Buehrle and hitters with Pace marks no greater than 21 seconds. These hitters averaged a Pace of 20.7 seconds, five seconds quicker than the slow group. Between those guys and Buehrle, I came away with 68 Pace readings. The average: 14.9 seconds.

So, against the quickest hitters in baseball, Mark Buehrle this year has thrown about a pitch every 15 seconds. That’s extraordinary, and you can get a sense of what it looks like here, with Buehrle pitching to J.J. Hardy in April:

BuehrlevsHardy

That at-bat lasted three pitches. Hardy came up and immediately took a ball. Nine seconds later, Hardy took a called strike. Nine seconds later, Hardy put the bat on the ball, flying out. A three-pitch showdown between Buehrle and Hardy lasted less than half of one minute, and that’s a pace to aspire to. It’s not a pace that everyone needs to adopt, because that’s probably too fast, but this is what the future could and should look like. With nobody on base, Buehrle just got the ball and prepared to throw it. Hardy prepared to hit, collected his thoughts, and prepared to hit again. You can’t work faster than your own conditioning allows you to, but there’s no reasonable need for pitchers to wander around the mound all the time, and there’s no reasonable need for hitters to unstrap and re-strap their batting gloves. They only do it because they’re allowed to do it. It never would’ve become habitual behavior if it weren’t allowed to become a habit in the first place.

The Mark Buehrle effect is this: the slowest hitters in baseball end up working a little faster than average. The fastest hitters in baseball end up working way faster than average. If you start holding pitchers to, say, 90-95% of the Mark Buehrle standard, the games will move along. And if you also put regulations in place for hitters, the games will move faster still, and no one will miss the dead space in between when things are happening. The game isn’t better for Clay Buchholz taking mid-inning walks. The game isn’t better for Troy Tulowitzki doing mid-pitch Sudoku. That isn’t time that builds tension — that’s time that lets the air out of the balloon. Fans would do more two-strike strikeout chants and clapping if they had more confidence that a pitch would actually be thrown within the following 30 seconds.

This wasn’t supposed to turn into an essay about the need for baseball to get faster. All this was supposed to be was a review of the Mark Buehrle effect, but I suppose you can’t think about Buehrle for too long without starting to wish he weren’t so completely alone with regard to his behavior. It wouldn’t be reasonable or fair to expect baseball to move to meet the Mark Buehrle standard. But, it would be fair to want baseball to act on his influence. Buehrle’s got only so many pitches left in the tank. When he’s gone, we’ll never remember how fast baseball can be.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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Scott
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Scott
2 years 1 month ago

Good stuff Jeff. I’m in favor of rules to limit hitters stepping out of the box every pitch. Watching Giants games, Sandoval’s interminable pre-at bat routine gets old, and Tyler Colvin (when he was there) spitting on his batting gloves and rubbing them together between every pitch was just gross.

Maybe a rule where the batter can only step out if they just fouled the ball off, are getting a sign, or swung and missed? Not sure if that’s feasible, though.

Marc
Guest
Marc
2 years 1 month ago

As a Red Sox fan, I’d point to the frustration of watching Clay Buchholz. Of course, this season it has been pretty frustrating watching Buchholz pitch for the quality of pitches and not just the time in between them. But he has always been painfully slow–especially with men on base. Watching Lackey or Peavy, two much quicker workers, was so refreshing.

Am I wrong in remembering that the 12 second rule is only supposed to apply to situations with no men on base?

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
2 years 1 month ago

But Peavy and Lackey are gone, while Buchholz is still there.

At least you no longer have to deal with Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka, though.

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 1 month ago

Does the impact of Tulo doing Sudoku during the pitch offset the Coors Field advantage?

(And, has anyone researched the impact of doing Sudoku on the hamate bone? Might be the next Tulo injury du jour)

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 1 month ago

No catcher visits to the mound in the middle of at-bats. Why does this still happen? I see it constantly, every single game. This was not an issue for about 150 ears, and suddenly pitchers and catchers can’t “get togehter” on important pitches. Figure out your signs and learn to work with that.

There are other ways to treat this problem, but these visits are completely annoying, and I love to holler about it at every opportunity. Like a lot of other obvious fixes, I just cannot understand why this hasn’t already been taken care of. It’s so easy. No stepping out of the box with both feet without clearing a time-out with the ump, enforce a pitch clock and, for the love of god, catcher visits to the mound should count as an official visit.

Also – and this is Bill James’ suggestion – deadening the ball just slightly should help as well.

So what is it with problems like this, where everyone has to all agree on it and talk about how they all agree on it for years before anything is done? Just do something about it already. Baseball attendance is at an all-time high, but if the games were 2.5 to 2.75 hours I bet attendance would go up.

dougiejays
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dougiejays
2 years 1 month ago

That’s fair – limit mound conferences to once an inning the same way you limit pithing coach visits. (Of course, that could get ugly if someone forgets the signs.)

Some level of pitch-clock enforcement would be reasonable, but at the same time forcing guys to rush could have disastrous results. It would even out between teams to some extent, but some pitchers need that moment to gather their thoughts. Pitching is a) strategic and b) target practice. (I liken it to pro pool to some extent, where the clock rarely comes into play but can be a factor when a player is looking down at a particularly difficult or important shot.) Rush a breaking ball in a big spot, hang it for a grand slam.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
2 years 1 month ago

Exactly. This will give the league a new and needed spurt of offense.

Confused
Guest
Confused
2 years 1 month ago

Catcher visits have always happened and always will. The SS used to visit the mound a lot more often back in the day so we’ve actually improved in that particular aspect.

The difference with catcher visit’s today is the catcher used to hustle out, tell his pitcher what he had to say and hustle back behind the plate. Now they walk out, converse, walk back and it takes twice as long. But a catcher visit should not be an official visit. I’m down for a limit, but yanking the pitcher because he and a catcher had two mix ups is too extreme. Many variables could make two or three visits perfectly acceptable – missed calls, weather, batter substitutions, busted hit-and-runs, pitcher ignores the call, new scouting information, catcher notices a hitch or a tell or any number of things really. I do not have an answer on how to police the visits to make sure they’re legit nor how to make today’s prima donna athlete run his ass back-and-forth between home and the mound, but it used to be that way.

swalters17
Member
swalters17
2 years 1 month ago

You don’t have to yank the catcher, the ump just has to tell the catcher to get his ass back behind the plate and keep the pitch clock going. Any time the catcher spends complaining is time closer to getting a free ball.

Scotttttttttt
Guest
Scotttttttttt
2 years 1 month ago

The other advantage when Mark Buehrle pitched for the White Sox was cutting talk time for Ken Harrelson in half.

Seriously though, just look at that Hardy at bat. That’s………watchable.

Blootzkloof
Guest
Blootzkloof
2 years 1 month ago

I would be all for the pitcher’s clock (and some sort of batting rule against the incessant strap-adjusting). Some pitchers are ridiculous with the time it takes to throw the ball. I bet during the time it takes Clay Buccholz to throw a single pitch, the German national team could score four goals

BlueJays93
Member
2 years 1 month ago

As a Blue Jays fan, I’d like to compare R.A. Dickey to Buehrle’s pace. I doubt Dickey puts much thought into his pitches’ location. He throws an unpredictable pitch, and, based on his recent production, I don’t know that he can predict it himself. In addition to that, Dickey has been a second slower than Buehrle, despite throwing his knuckler 80% of the time. So he’s not spending time trying to locate the pitch, and nor has he been thinking which pitch to throw really – yet he’s still slower than Mark Buehrle, who absolutely knows what he’s doing out there, determining where he’s throwing the ball, which of his five pitches he’s going to be releasing, and he mixes his stuff expertly. The most valuable of Dickey’s pitches according to Pitch f/x pitch values has been his eephus, which he throws at 1.7 runs above average. Enough said. #BringBackSyndergaard

Doug Lampert
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Doug Lampert
2 years 1 month ago

One of the keys to Buehrle’s pace is that he DOES NOT decide which of his five pitches to throw. The catcher signals, he accepts it. He hasn’t shaken off a major league catcher in over 10 years, and that was in an exhibition game!

Similarly he doesn’t decide where to throw it, he doesn’t even attend pre-game discussions of the other team’s line up, he doesn’t think that’s his job, the catcher signals and puts his glove out, and Buehrle follows his lead.

Canard
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Canard
2 years 1 month ago

In fairness, Dickey’s pitches probably take a second longer to reach the plate.

Rylan
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Rylan
2 years 3 days ago

I seriously can’t believe I’m hearing a complaint about Dickey’s pace.

Dragbunter
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Dragbunter
2 years 1 month ago

Every player will have their own pace, and no matter their pace, if they’re good, they’ll play. Broadcasters are the ones that need to figure out how to change to make the game more fun to watch on TV. They seem to have adapted with golf, as some golfers walk up to the ball and hit while others take forever to hit. Why don’t they spice up the broadcasts with things people enjoy watching?

On the other hand, the simplest way to speed up the game is just to have fewer innings. I can’t get enough LLWS. 6 innings!

Bobby Bonilla
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Bobby Bonilla
2 years 1 month ago

So your argument is that the broadcasters should somehow add exciting filler because a game now takes 4 hours instead of 2? I’m sure Fox would love to throw more NFL robots all over the place.

They need to start penalizing batters that step out too much. Unless the batter calls timeout, start calling strikes on him or allow the pitcher to throw. Limit the number of timeouts. If your cup is riding up on you… sure call timeout. If you need to readjust your batting gloves in some insane OCD ritual, then fuck off and take your strikes.

david
Guest
david
2 years 1 month ago

vin scully in his infinite wisdom regarding matt carpenter: “he doesn’t wear batting gloves, so you know it’s going to be a quick at-bat.”

Benjammer
Guest
Benjammer
2 years 1 month ago

Except that Matt Carpenter averages like 5 pitches per at bat, so yeah, its going to be long.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
2 years 1 month ago

Pitches are good.

Mike
Member
Mike
2 years 1 month ago

If we do create a time limit between pitches, would that make it easier for baserunners to time a pitcher and take a bigger lead/steal a base? Baserunners are at least somewhat held to their base because of the anticipation of a pickoff but if the timer is running out, they could stretch a larger lead or take off for the next base. Do you think this could be a potential problem or would it just be a consequence of taking too long in the first place. Also, the batter could deliberately use all of his time to force the pitcher’s hand in to throwing almost as soon as the batter steps into the box. Just a few of my thoughts on this issue. I do support expediting the game but a timer seems like it may have some faults.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
2 years 1 month ago

What would be the problem with that? Offense is down to historical post-deadball lows; An advantage to the baserunner or hitter might be a good thing.

Dan
Guest
Dan
2 years 1 month ago

Historical post-deadball lows? That would be 1963-1968, which I’m old enough to remember.

I like today’s balance of hitting and pitching. But I would like to see games shortened. (1) Put the on-deck hitter on the clock to walk to the plate; (2) limit situations where a batter can step out; (3) enforce the existing 12-second rule; (4) limit catchers to one mound visit per inning per pitcher.

FIP'n good
Guest
FIP'n good
2 years 1 month ago

very good point

bob
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bob
2 years 1 month ago

Pitchers can play this game too – wait until the the last second to throw a pickoff attempt. That could offset the baserunner advantage

KyleZ
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KyleZ
2 years 1 month ago

I wonder what effect catchers had on this.

I may remember incorrectly, but I think Beuhrle got frustrated with JPA last year for dawdling with signs.

Maybe that’s my mind playing tricks on me because JPA

Radivel
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Radivel
2 years 1 month ago

The Yanks and Red Sox are probably told to take a long time so their respective stations can air more commercials.

Confused
Guest
Confused
2 years 1 month ago

While they are some egregious examples to be sure, I’m not so sure I’ve ever seen a commercial mid-pitch, no matter how long the pitcher/batter combo is taking between pitches.

Pale Hose
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Pale Hose
2 years 1 month ago

The Red Sox could have easily sold 30 second spots between every Papelbon pitch. So much missed revenue.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
2 years 1 month ago

Yeah, but they can fit less pitches / ABs between commercials!

Ben
Guest
Ben
2 years 1 month ago

Respectfully, Radivel, your comments make no sense.

mko
Guest
mko
2 years 1 month ago

I tend to watch baseball games in fast forward. One key on my keyboard forwards the game 2 seconds, the other 10 seconds. So I have a pretty good feeling for how much time goes by when.

A lot of time is wasted:

1. Between batters. It usually takes at least 30 seconds for the next batter to come to bat. That should be much faster.

2. With runners on base. I understand that a lot goes on even if “nothing” goes on, but still. When e.g. Hiroki Kuroda is on the mound with runners on base and he throws to first once and steps off once between pitches, time between pitches can be over a minute!

3. Meetings on the mound. When the catcher goes out to the pitcher four times in an inning, with each visit lasting 20 seconds and walking to and from the mound…that’s a lot of wasted time.

4. As you pointed out, batters stepping out and doing stuff after EVERY pitch. Have the batter stay inside the box and ready for the next pitch! (Most) pitchers will adjust and work faster. The pitcher is not going to start his routine with the catcher until the batter is ready.

5. Stop calling every pitch from the dugout! It sucks looking at the catcher looking at the dugout for 5 seconds before every pitch is called.

6. Slow pitchers. Yes they exist, but in my opinion the pitcher is seldom the only problem.

Zack Murphy
Guest
Zack Murphy
2 years 1 month ago

Utterly brilliant other article on this subject: http://obscurebaseball.com/2014/07/01/if-i-were-commissioner-part-ii-baseball-is-slow/

TV is definitely a factor, as is late-game strategery. In-inning pitching changes, and obviously TV breaks. But still, back in the day, you stayed in the box and remained ready to hit.

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
2 years 1 month ago

Honestly, what are they doing out there. Get the ball, pick a pitch, throw the pitch. Think ahead a little. If this one is a strike, what am I throwing next? It’ snot like you just started doing this. You’ve been pitching for twenty years or more. Time to learn how to do it.

I remember being at a Buehrle – Johan Santana game about 8 or 9 years ago. Dog Day at US Cellular. I got up to get us hot dogs and beers. There was no line. I missed the fourth inning. We also had tickets the next day. Freddy Garcia on the mound. It seemed like we had gone from watching a hockey game to a cricket match.

Baseball is a great game, but fast baseball is so much better. It is kind of sad that the best way to win from an offensive standpoint involves 4 hour games. I wish they could fix that, but no matter where you set the pitch clock and no matter how vigorously you enforce it, if your game is taking pitches and getting into the bullpen by running up pitch counts then the game will be loooong.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
2 years 1 month ago

If they’re taking pitches, at LEAST they’re taking pitches. I’d rather see Matt Carpenter take 6 pitches than 2 pitches to David Ortiz

Dieter Bowar
Guest
Dieter Bowar
2 years 1 month ago

I remember a game in 2010 when Buehrle was with the Sox and pitched at Target Field against Carl Pavano with a major storm cell coming into the area (July 17, 2010). The Twins won 3-2 in a one hour, 52 minute game. The heavens opened up shortly thereafter and it down poured for several hours.

I am cognizant of the fact ad revenue is important, but it really is time to start implementing small changes to minor league affiliates to see the how some of these proposed small changes can reduce the time of games. If not, start times need to be moved to 6 PM local time.

Rylan
Guest
Rylan
2 years 3 days ago

I want to say I watched a Halladay Buehrle game in like 1:45 when I was a kid, only time I can remember the game ended before my bed time. (usually games started at 7 and my bed time used to be 9, unless it was a really good game)

mikecws91
Guest
mikecws91
1 year 11 months ago

Buehrle vs. Westbrook or Buehrle vs. Mulder would be routinely under 1:40.

PackBob
Guest
PackBob
2 years 1 month ago

Nomar gave me the feeling that if he didn’t do something like fiddle with his batting gloves between pitches he would explode. It also seemed like more of a personal quirk than preparing himself for the next pitch.

Now it seems like gathering oneself for the next pitch is to the level of superstition for many hitters, something they wouldn’t change unless forced to change. Some pitchers too.

A time limit for pitchers with bases empty and staying in the box and/or no fooling with equipment unless broken or undone makes sense. If the players union would go for it.

It’s often said by players and management that baseball is entertainment. If so, make it more entertaining and take away the utterly worthless dead time.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
2 years 1 month ago

“The game isn’t better for Troy Tulowitzki doing mid-pitch Sudoku.”

I dunno, I would watch a game where after every pitch, Troy Tulowitzki must fill in one box of a Sudoku puzzle.

The Ancient Mariner
Guest
The Ancient Mariner
2 years 1 month ago

Set a time limit between pitches–say, 20 seconds–and if the batter steps out of the box with 5 seconds or less on the clock, make it an automatic strike and restart the clock.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
2 years 1 month ago

Or oblige the pitcher to begin delivery when the clock hits zero, regardless of whether batter is ready to hit or doing sudoku five feet away from the batter’s box.

The Ancient Mariner
Guest
The Ancient Mariner
2 years 1 month ago

That would be another way to do it — a bit less of a penalty on the batter, I think, but the same idea. Might result in an injury or two, though (wildly flailing batter, etc.).

sopcod
Member
sopcod
2 years 1 month ago

I really like the idea of a visible pitch clock, like the shot clock in basketball. The MILLISECOND that clock hits zero, the pitcher can throw a pitch and it WILL count. It would have to be different with runners on.

Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 1 month ago

Batters are allowed to call time once per AB to step out of the batters box. If he fouls off a ball he’s allowed to step out or re-adjust, too. If the batter takes too long to set up, the ump can call a strike on him.

Pitchers get their 20-second pitch clock. If they delay, the ump issues them a warning once, then after that they get dinged with a ball. Pitchers cannot exit the mound except between batters (or after foul balls).

Catchers are allowed one mound visit per inning. A second mound visit is allowed, however it will be charged as a pitching coach visit. A third visit is treated as a manager visit, and the pitcher must be removed. The catcher must move at a decent pace for that visit.

A pitcher is only allowed to throw over to a base twice before delivering a pitch to the plate. He may also only “fake” and step off once per pitch. Any subsequent fakes or throws to a runner will be treated as a balk.

There you go :)

FIP'n good
Guest
FIP'n good
2 years 1 month ago

To easy for baserunners

Pennsy
Guest
Pennsy
2 years 1 month ago

What I don’t understand is the idea that extensive commercial breaks “are always going to be there.” Marketing delivery models have changed dramatically over time and it would seem strange to me if twenty-five or so years from now the absolute best way for baseball to monetize the ability to view a game is to sell broadcast rights to cable companies who will air the games with long commercial breaks.

Given how many people recognize that the commercial breaks are the real cause of games lasting about three hours on average it seems strange that just about all of them would accept this as a permanent state. In the future it seems just as likely that short spots tailored to information tied to your MLB/Team Subscriber account would be pushed onto your screen during pauses in play and between innings. Or even in screen real estate not taken up by the game itself, as broadcasters often do when airing professional soccer matches now.

That said, I would totally support rules to inhibit the worst time-stalling practices as they’re not much fun to watch in any case. But I think one would have to dramatically alter the actual construct of the game (i.e. a pitch clock) in order to immediately reduce the length of games without trying to alter the advertising model that helps fund baseball.

Mark
Guest
Mark
2 years 1 month ago

The slow play is now firmly built into the culture of the game. Even in youth league games, the batters walk several yards out of the box between each pitch. Watch a game from the early 70s and see how different the patterns were. I saw one recently where a player was booed for stepping out of the box. Does anyone really think that this change is an improvement? Has helped ratings? I can’t understand the league’s complete lack of leadership in addressing such an obvious problem…

mikecws91
Guest
mikecws91
2 years 1 month ago

I’m pissed that the Reds missed Buehrle in June, or we would’ve seen Buehrle vs. Votto, the quickest matchup in history.

N8*K
Guest
N8*K
2 years 1 month ago

Rule 1: Once batter steps into the batters box and umpire signals live ball, for the remainder of the at bat, the pitcher can make a pitch at any time (regardless of batter awareness) unless:
A) There are runners on base
B) Batter swings
C) Batter calls timeout
i) Batter is allowed one timeout per at bat

Rule 2: Once ball is live, pitcher is allowed X seconds to deliver the ball (initially or between pitches)

Rule 3: Pitcher/catcher meetings must not exceed X seconds (enought time to jog out for a brief chat)

Rule 4: Coach/pitcher meetings must not exceed seconds (enought time for coach to jog out for a brief chat)

Rules violated by offense result in a strike.
Rules violated by defense result in a ball.

I think most purists are concerned with any rule that would reduce the amount of suspense during critical points in the game. I would argue that those moments happen when there are runners on base. Let’s speed up the less impactful parts of the game so we can draw out the suspenseful parts without staying up past midnight.

SABRphreak
Guest
SABRphreak
2 years 1 month ago

I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I suspect batters are taking more pitches today than in years/decades past as hitters are more focused on “working the count,” waiting for “their pitch,” and driving up pitch counts to knock out the starting pitcher.

MLB can cut the length of games by enforcing rules 8.04 and 6.02 (B). Rule 8.04 states pitchers have 12 seconds to deliver the ball to the plate without runners on base or the umpire can call a ball. Rule 6.02 (B) deals with batters stepping out of the box and that umpires aren’t required to call time. During the off-season, MLB should make an announcement about the strict enforcement of these rules (and advise regarding eliminating stepping out of the box once an AB has begun) and provide additional training to umps. In the past 30 years, the average game length has increased by about 30 minutes (as per the NY Times).

6.02
The batter shall take his position in the batter?s box promptly when it is his time at bat.
(b) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter?s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup.
PENALTY: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call ?Ball? or ?Strike,? as the case may be.
Rule 6.02(b) Comment: The batter leaves the batter?s box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call ?Time.? The batter is not at liberty to step in and out of the batter?s box at will.
Once a batter has taken his position in the batter?s box, he shall not be permitted to step out of the batter?s box in order to use the resin or the pine tar rag, unless there is a delay in the game action or, in the judgment of the umpires, weather conditions warrant an exception.
Umpires will not call ?Time? at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims ?dust in his eyes,? ?steamed glasses,? ?didn?t get the sign? or for any other cause.
Umpires may grant a hitter?s request for ?Time? once he is in the batter?s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter?s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter?s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched.
If pitcher delays once the batter is in his box and the umpire feels that the delay is not justified he may allow the batter to step out of the box momentarily. If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a ?set position? with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from ?scratch.?

matt
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

I honestly don’t think there should be a time limit, everyone that has played baseball has all sorts of superstitions and things they have to do before each pitch whether it’s the pitcher or hitter, baseball has always been slow why try and change it now. realistically if you can’t sit through a three hour game without getting bored you shouldn’t be at the game

J. B. Rainsberger
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

I can’t believe so many of you would rather introduce a bunch of arbitrary constraints with yet more nonsense to count than simply enforce a proper strike zone.

Let the strike zone run from the top of the knees to the bottom of the armpits. There will be a 10-year lull in offence while batters adjust, then they’ll rediscover how to hit homers on chest-high pitches, then offence will return to a reasonable level. The number of pitches per plate appearance will decrease and the rest of your suggestions won’t matter.

There are about 80 PA per game. Shave one pitch per PA off and you save around 30-40 minutes per game without changing anything else. Starting pitchers will be able to throw between 2 and 4 outs more per start, resulting in one fewer mid-inning pitching change per game, so there’s another 4 minutes gone.

No need for artificial nonsense like pitch clocks and limits to catchers’ visits. Just call the damn strike zone.

Rylan
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Rylan
2 years 3 days ago

Pitchers will still nibble though.

Rylan
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Rylan
2 years 3 days ago

In my league last year they tried to implement a rule (apparently its a fastpitch softball Canada rule) that a batter can’t leave the batters box between pitches unless he fouls a ball off, has to move to avoid a HBP, or move because of a SB or a passed ball with a runner advancing. Other than that he had to leave one foot in the box at all times or a strike would be called. Sadly the rule only lasted one season, and we still have guys in our beer league readjusting their batting gloves and doing the cross on their chest and kissing up to god thing before every pitch.

Also a pitcher has 12 seconds to get back on the mound and begin his delivery after he receives the ball.

I think it’s easier to implement these rules in fastpitch softball though because a baserunner cant leave the base until the ball leaves the pitchers hand.

Although the biggest waste of time is by far players not getting back on to the field immediately after their third out.

I would love to see players doddling in between pitches to have strikes called on them or be beaned by pitches, I find it disrespectful to the game. I couldn’t stand Garciaparra. “Ooooh everybody look at me while I adjust my batting gloves, I want all the attention”. I’d beam him every time.

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