MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred unveiled the new pace of game rules this morning.
I object to the installation of timers. What distinguishes baseball from football, basketball and hockey is precisely that there is no regulation of time. Each game has its own pace determined by what happens on the field. Now instead of being baseball revolving around what is happening on the field, it will revolve around these damn timers. MLB might as well install shot clocks while they are at it.
One part of the new rule reads, “The pitcher is expected to begin his motion to deliver the pitch as soon as the batter gets into the batter’s box and becomes alert to the pitcher.” So does this mean the catcher is no longer allowed to give signs to the pitcher as to what pitch should be thrown? Or does the catcher now have to do this before the batter steps into the box?
I know people complain that the games are too long. But this is what happens when you live an instant download world. People have no patience for subtle niceties of the game (i.e. the signs, positioning of the fielders, will it be a bunt or a hit and run?, etc.) These timers will compromise baseball’s ebb and flow.
I also doubt that games will be appreciably shorter. If MLB really wants to shorten the length of games then cut down on the number of commercials between innings. As it stands now there’s 2:25 of commercial time between half innings in locally televised games and 2:45 of commercial time between half innings in nationally televised games. That accounts for 45 minutes to an hour of game time. But MLB isn’t about to give up its precious advertising revenue.