MLB’s New Pace of Play Clock Makes Its Debut at Spring Training (Video + GIF)
On Tuesday Major League Baseball’s spring training exhibition season got underway in Florida and Arizona. Thus, for the first time, we got a look at the new pace of play clock instituted to speed up games.
It’s no secret that something had to be done to speed things up. In 2006, the average length of a Major League Baseball game was 172 minutes. In 2010 it was 175 minutes. And in 2014, with the introduction of instant replay and manager challenges, it was all the way up to 188 minutes. (Check out the infographic.) So this past offseason, the head honchos at MLB put their heads together and came up with a couple of ideas.
First, managers now have to stay in the dugout for replay challenges. No longer will they be allowed to come out onto the field and “argue” with an umpire while somebody in the clubhouse looks at the replay to figure out if they should challenge. This will help a lot.
Second, batters will have to keep at least one foot in the batters box in between pitches when they don’t swing. This rule has actually been on the books for a long time, but over the years umpires have let things slide. Now they won’t.
Third, and most controversially, MLB has introduced the pace of play clock. It’s not a pitch clock, per se, although MLB did toy around with the idea of regulating the time in between every pitch. Instead, the pace of play clock is meant to cut down on the lollygagging in between innings. Pitchers and hitters will now have exactly two minutes, 25 seconds from the final out of the previous frame to throw the first pitch of the next one. (Or two minutes, 45 seconds for nationally televised games.) That means a batter has to come in from the field, grab his helmet, batting gloves, elbow guard, and bat, and take his practice swings in the allotted time. Pitchers, meanwhile, can throw as many warm-up pitches as they want. But they must be set and ready to deliver when the clock strikes zero.
Take a look at the new pace of play rules in action:
Oh, and in case you were wondering about the penalty for violating the new rules, it won’t be balls and strikes. Instead, everyone will be fined $500 per offense.
Of course, the penalties won’t take effect until May 1 so player have a little time to adjust…which is good news for the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion. He was having a bit of trouble yesterday: