The Arizona Fall League, where instant replay was tested before being implemented league wide, is where the league is going to try to speed up the game of baseball. This season more than usual, it seemed that Mets games just dragged on. The magic length for me is 3 hours. At that point, the game really should be over. A perfect length would be 2:30, where a 7:00 game ends around 9:30. For a while I thought Mets games were longer because of Colin’s management of the bullpen, but it is a league wide epidemic.
The first day was a success in the AFL as this article points out. The average game time dropped about 9 minutes compared to last year which doesn’t sound like much but that is the difference between catching your connecting train New York and missing it. Obviously one day of data collecting is way too small of a sample size but it will be interesting to see what happens over the course of the fall. Some of the rules the AFL is using:
- One foot in the batters box at all time, unless hit by a foul ball etc
- Limits on how many times a batter can step out
- Time Limits between innings
- Time Limits between pitches.
Only one of the three games made use of the last part, 20 seconds between pitches. In the future if a pitcher doesn’t make the 20 second mark, the pitch is counted as an automatic ball.
What I’m most curious to see is how the clock changes the running game. This now puts a time where pitchers need to pitch, so this gives the runner a window to start running. This also could change how catchers approach calling in these situations to catch batters at 2nd base. This is probably the most controversial of the measures.