Major League Baseball is making some changes to speed up the length of games but it won’t implement some of the more radical proposals to make games shorter.
The league and the players’ union announced an agreement Friday to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box in most cases. MLB also will post stadium clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks.
“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release. The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”
MLB did not institute many of the ideas experimented with during the Arizona Fall League, such as a 20-second clock between pitches, a limitation of pitcher’s mound conferences involving catchers and managers, and no-pitch intentional walks.
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Penalties for violating the new rules start May 1 and will involve only fines. In the AFL, strikes and balls were called against violators.
“The players believe that enforcing the rules that currently exist regarding between inning breaks and plate appearances is the best way to address the issue of pace of play,” Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark said in a release. “We’re confident that today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the pace of the game without jeopardizing the integrity of the competition.”