MLB Proposals To Hurry Up Would Likely Have The Opposite Effect
Major League Baseball is fixated on reducing the average length of a game.
To solve the length-of-time question really isn’t that hard.
The umpire should say, “Get your ass in the box, son. I’m calling strikes.”
Then he should holler out to the mound, “The longer you take, the more balls I call.”
Done. Major League Baseball’s length-of-game problem solved.
Instead we have a host of proposals to improve the game and in some cases shorten it. But some of them would actually make games longer.
According to ESPN and the Athletic, commissioner Rob Manfred and the players’ union are considering the possibility of adding offense, and dumbing down the game, by adding the designated hitter to the National League. This would increase offense, do away with bunting almost entirely and would mean more pitches per game.
And how would this help?
Also on the list: A proposal to mandate three hitters per pitcher, not at the same time thankfully. That could get weird. Except in case of injury or if it’s the end of an inning, a pitcher would be required to face at least three batters. True, this would minimize mound visits but would also increase offense because managers would lose favorable pitching matchups.
And what does more offense mean for the length of the game? Pretty sure it still makes it longer.
Now the addition of a 20-second pitch clock absolutely makes sense though, again, is unnecessary if the umpiring crew does it’s job. That would require pissing off some of the games best pitchers, however. Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer are all top-ten in dawdling.
However I think the time savings will be negligible especially for pitchers who work slowly to conserve energy. I am certain that increasing their pace will lead to them becoming tired more quickly and will lead to them being pulled from the game sooner… which is… another pitching change.
The one change which will absolutely shave a couple of minutes off of every game is a reduction in mound visits from 6 to 5. Let’s go with that one and see what happens.
Of course, what would really shave time off of the game is shorter commercial breaks. Currently, the breaks are two, two-and-a-half or-three minutes (depending on regional, national, or playoff game). Cut those to 60 seconds. You’re looking at 18 minutes to a half hour right there. Picture-in-picture advertising has been a thing for years in golf and recently during the National Football League’s leagues downtime.
If baseball is truly serious about taking time off the game, that’s the easiest and most effective solution.
The other proposals would cause just as many delays as they are worth.