MLB Rules Committee Announces Changes in Attempt to Increase Pace of the Game

MLB Rules Committee Announces Changes in Attempt to Increase Pace of the Game

Adopting the principle that faster baseball is better baseball, Major League Baseball will enact a host of new rules for the coming season, most intending to shorten the time of games.

Last season, amid baseball’s rule changes to shorten game times, the average length of a nine-inning game was 2 hours and 39 minutes, almost 25 minutes below the 2022 season’s average, according to USA Today.

The average time was the lowest since 1985, when an average game took 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The pitch clock, introduced last year, will be tweaked. With runners on base, pitchers will have 18 seconds, instead of 20 seconds, to begin their throwing motion, according to ESPN.

The bases-empty limit of 15 seconds will not change.

The league’s competition committee said pitchers, on average, had 7.3 seconds to go when the 20-second timer was used last year.

Unless injured, a pitcher who warms up to start an inning has to face at least one hitter, under another new rule.

Under previous rules, that pitcher could be replaced during or after warming up.  The league said pitchers were replaced in this fashion 24 times last year, adding on average three minutes to the game each time.


To avoid pitchers wandering about the edges of the mound to buy time, the pitch clock will start as soon as the pitcher gets the ball, regardless of where he is standing.

One change made without time as a factor gives batters a wider lane as they run to first.

The competition committee is made up of six owners, four players and one umpire.

“From its inception, the Joint Competition Committee’s constructive conversations between players, umpires and owners have produced rules that significantly improved the game for fans,” Seattle Mariners owner and chairman of the Competition Committee John Stanton said in a statement, according to ESPN.

“These modifications will improve on last year’s work by the Competition Committee, which was a resounding success with our fans and for the sport.”

Players on the panel opposed the changes, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said, according to Sports Illustrated.

“Players strongly feel that, following last season’s profound changes to the fundamental rules of the game, immediate additional changes are unnecessary and offer no meaningful benefits to fans, players, or the competition on the field,” the statement said.

“This season should be used to gather additional data and fully examine the health, safety, and injury impacts of reduced recovery time; that is where our focus will be.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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