Over Four Hours?!! - 9 Ideas To Shorten MLB GAMES
Complained last night on twitter about the length of the world series game. So during the endless dead time came up with the following suggestions. I'm not sure I am a purist, but I have played, coached, managed and umpired this game we love, so not offering anything incredibly radical. All seem doable to me, but welcome your tweaks and ideas too. If chess can add a clock, so can baseball. Some players will feel rushed, but that's the whole idea.
I know some may want to leave the game as is, but professional sports are in the entertainment business. Leagues have to adapt to stay relevant and ensure top talent plays under their banner. Its balancing act to maintain integrity while chasing viewers and advertising dollars. Tried to keep that in mind with the following 9 suggestions for keeping it a 9 inning game. Here goes...
1. Batters cannot step out of the box unless they swing at a pitch or leave the box to avoid being hit by a pitch. If they do step out, a strike is called and would result in the batter being out if this was their third strike. Rationale: save time of batters stepping out for ritual adjustments and signal checks after a non-swings.
2. Reduce mound visits by two each game and add umpire visits to that limit. Rationale: current limits have not done enough to speed up the game.
3. Once a pitcher steps on the rubber, they can't step off again if no one is on base. If they do step off an automatic ball is called. Rationale: Too many steps off for signal checks and confirmations. Would need the umpires to agree to this as catchers will miss some pitches getting their signals crossed.
4. No removal of relief pitchers during an inning. Any removals for injuries results in that pitcher being unable to pitch for the next 3 consecutive games. Rationale: Gets rid of strategic replacements. If a guy is getting bombed you probably don't mind not having him pitch for awhile. Need some check on using injury as an escape clause.
5. Revise existing pitch clock rule to include 5 second on the rubber rule for pitch to be delivered or thrown to an occupied base. Any refresh of signs or step off - see rule 3 - results in an automatic ball.
6. Obviously reducing the tiered time between innings is an obvious recommendation. But rather than a blanket reduction for each inning. Reduce the time between to 1 minute for the first 5 innings and make up some lost time in the remaining innings. Rationale - would be a tough sell for the owners to agree to reduce ad time even if it would help in rescuing declining viewership. This plan can keep the same amount of time. but would put the longer time breaks in the more compelling time of the game when the viewer is hooked and is more likely to watch the ads in between innings.
7. Managers have 5 seconds (no time to review replay) to determine if they want to challenge a play on the field. Too late and the call stands Rationale: Too much delay of managers checking to see if they want to challenge. Must decide in the here and now from your own eyes - no visual assistance.
8. For pitchers - Three foul balls your out and or For batters - third check to the bag is an automatic ball. Rationale: Would speed it up - but may be the pitcher in me wanting this. Hated those battles that used up my arrows. Hey hit the ball fair if you don't like it. Bases stealing is exciting - throw overs not so much - still get two before it adds a ball to the count.
9. Time limit on the entire review process. If the league cannot verify a reviewed call in a minute or less the umpires will remove their head sets and the call on the field shall stand. Rationale: It's not the Zapruder film - it the call cannot be made quickly - play on. Would force the league to be efficient as possible in the process.