Thank you Major League Baseball for helping your game....it was LONG overdue! The competition committee approved a 15 second pitch clock with empty bases and 20 seconds with runners on base. If the batter is in violation of the clock it's an automatic strike and if the pitcher hasn't started his pitching motion by the time the clock expires it's an automatic ball. Pickoffs and step-offs will reset the clock and the pitcher will be limited to two per hitter. The ban of "the shift" has also been instituted where the defense now has to have two fielders on each side of second base with both feet on the dirt. The new rule does not prohibit a 5th infielder. (usually used to prevent the game winning run) MLB will also expand the base sizes from 15 to 18 square inches.
The vote wasn't unanimous (player reps voted no on the shift and pitch clock changes) but there are majority MLB seats (6) including Rockies owner Dick Monfort, Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, Mariners owner John Stanton, Red Sox owner Tom Werner, Giants owner Greg Johnson, and Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro. The MLBPA seats (4) include Giants outfielder Austin Slater, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty and Blue Jays utility man Whit Merrifield. Bill Miller is the lone umpire filling in the final spot on the 11 person committee. There was nothing like watching Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo ground out to the shortstop in short right field. Schwarber was .12 below the Mendoza Line in 2020 with 36 hits in 224 plate appearances for a .188 batting average. There's no doubt in my mind he'd have easily been closer to a.220/.225 average (which is the new .270/.275) if not for that horrid shift that has taken baseball back about 30 years. The same can be said for Rizzo as he notched 46 hits in 223 plate appearances for a career low .222 average in 2020. Sure the shift goes back to the days of Ted Williams but it wasn't as normal as it's become. Will contact now become a valuable asset? Advertisement
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Accelerating the speed of the game is probably top priority in my eyes and most of the fans/would be fans that I interact with. If you've been following my Cubs coverage over the last 7 years, one of my favorite post game tweets is "there's nothing like an under 3 hour baseball game." With the new clock implemented, a 2:30/2:45 game seems more feasible and will be easier on the eyes, especially for a game looking to engage a younger fan base. Growing up watching baseball as early as I remember in 1984, the average game length was 2:39. Not that it really mattered to me because I had no sense of time but now that I'm older and on the other side of the game, anything north of 3 hours is not the move! Now the last thing I ask of MLB is to do something about position players on the bump. If manager's wanna wave the white flag and throw their third baseman on the mound, game over! Instituting a 10 run mercy rule could do the trick as well. Fans may not be happy but I think it's in the best interest of all parties involved. It usually happens in the 8th and 9th innings so Business Ops won't miss out on alcohol sales!