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Commissioner Manfred Still Favors a Pitch Clock and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

The kiddos are in a delicate stasis behind me as I type, so hopefully I can power through these Bullets before someone needs to find a shoe, before someone needs another waffle, or before someone poops.

(Update on the fly – it ain’t happening. I will cobble together these Bullets as best I can, but please forgive any obvious lapses in spelling, grammar, or logic. I was pulled away three separate times typing this one parenthetical!)

  • MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has held the reins for almost two years now, and, in that time, he’s seen the sport continue to modernize technologically, and he stewarded the league to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, both of which have been positives for the sport overall. One of Manfred’s biggest agenda items, however – pace of play – has probably not been as effectively addressed as he might have hoped. Although we saw some improvement in overall game length in 2015 (it dipped under three hours per game), things shot right back up in 2016, primarily because – in my view – (1) players were less attentive to the “stay in the box” rule, and (2) offense rebounded. Although the latter is not something that necessarily hurts pace of play (a high-scoring, but longer game is probably at least as interesting to most fans as a low-scoring, very short game), the former is something that will need to be re-addressed in 2017.
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  • For his part, Manfred is focused on improvements to pace of play that do not change the “competitive posture” of the game, including the pitch clock:

  • As he said in that recent Hot Stove appearance, Manfred is in favor of changes that move the game along (which improves not only overall game length, but the pace at which the game is proceeding from the fans’ perspective – less dead time), so long as they don’t impact the actual competition between the teams. And, as he added, Manfred believes that a 20-second pitch clock is in that category. Instead, he sees it as a mere reminder to players that they need to move the game along.
  • I’m sure many pitchers would disagree (if they become hurried or flustered, it will impact their performance), but the pitch clock has been implemented in the minor leagues without much complaining. I’ll remind everyone that there is already a rule on the books (8.04) that requires pitchers to throw a pitch within 12 seconds of having the ball and having the batter in the box, and a 20-second pitch clock is merely a visual extension of that rule (with the additional time allowing for the catcher to return the ball, and the batter to become set). The average time between pitches in 2016 was 22.7 seconds, and, even if every pitch took right up to the 20-second mark, you not only improve pace, but you’re also talking about saving, what, 3 seconds times 300 pitches per game? That’s 15 minutes per game right there. The actual change could produce even more time savings, since not every single pitch is going to go right to that 20-second mark.

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  • Kris Bryant was in New York to receive his official MVP award from the BBWAA:

  • And Jon Lester was there as well to collect some hardware of his own:


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  • At the event, the Angels tweeted a great picture of the happy MVPs, and I thought a statistical addition would be helpful:

  • More love for Carl Edwards Jr., who, if healthy, is going to keep turning heads in 2017:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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