Pace of play back in base­ball spot­light

Lethbridge Herald - - SPORTS -

Puff­ing on a cigar, Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reins­dorf said what many fans be­lieve.

“It doesn’t mat­ter if the game is 3 1/2 hours if it was an ex­cit­ing game. But if it’s a 2-1 game, it takes four hours, no­body’s too happy with it,” he said Tues­day. “I be­lieve we should speed up the game. That’s one of the things we should do, is limit the num­ber of trips that a catcher can take to the mound in the course of an in­ning or a game. We could eas­ily cut 20 min­utes off the time of a game if we re­ally wanted to.”

The av­er­age time of a ninein­ning con­test was a record three hours, five min­utes this sea­son, up from 2:56 in 2015. The post-sea­son av­er­age was 3:29.

Many own­ers and gen­eral man­agers want to cut down trips to the mound by catch­ers. Whether the rea­son is chang­ing signs, talk­ing about pitch se­lec­tion or just giv­ing a pitcher a breather dur­ing long plate ap­pear­ances, man­age­ment wants to cut back.

Pitch­ers and catch­ers say they are be­ing ex­tra cau­tious in an era where dozens of high-def­i­ni­tion cam­eras are fo­cused on them, and each team has em­ploy­ees in video rooms seek­ing any ad­van­tage.

“There could be an el­e­ment of para­noia in­volved,” White Sox gen­eral man­ager Rick Hahn said.

Jon Daniels, the Texas Rangers pres­i­dent of base­ball oper­a­tions, didn’t hedge.

“I don’t think it’s para­noia, I think it’s real,” he said.

MLB pro­posed three changes to ad­dress game length last off-sea­son that the play­ers’ union didn’t ac­cept, and man­age­ment can start them next year with­out player ap­proval: re­strict­ing catch­ers to one trip to the mound per pitcher each in­ning; em­ploy­ing a 20-sec­ond pitch clock; and rais­ing the bot­tom of the strike zone from just be­neath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level — at the top of the kneecap.

Base­ball com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred prefers reach­ing an agree­ment with the union, and changes could be phased in over sev­eral years. The strike zone change has been dis­cussed less in re­cent months.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.