Is Major League Baseball Fixing America’s Pastime?

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Over the course of the past few seasons, we have heard plenty of reports and rumblings that the game of baseball has grown stale. Being a game that requires a lot of thinking, both as an athlete and fan, the sport itself proves difficult to invite a casual audience. Because of this, Major League Baseball has seen ratings dips, empty ballparks, and been met with criticisms of the sport. This season, it appears the sport is making some drastic changes, but are they for the better?

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Amongst the criticisms of the game, pace of play ranks right at the top of the issues the sport faces. With games lasting upwards of three hours or more, fans find themselves wondering what exactly is taking so long. With those concerns in mind, Major League Baseball has begun exploring possibilities to change the course of their future.

Using the minor leagues as a proving ground, our friends over at MLB Daily Rumors broke the story that baseball would in fact be using pitch clocks to time pitchers delivery to the plate.

With pitch clocks installed, you can bet that pitchers will now be monitoring the countdown in regards to the time wasted between pitches. In the story, Murray notes that a standard MLB game takes around three hours to complete in its current state, while a recent pitch clock mandated game took just over two hours to finish.

The 20 second pitch clock seems to make a lot of sense; I would imagine it would be similar to the feeling of a ten second limit on a free throw. It should be adequate to complete the process, but not detrimental to the action either. Murray heard a negative opinion from a former player in which he said, “That’s brutal. I don’t like it at all.”

Major League Baseball is also exploring the possibility of shortening the time wasted between innings. ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported,

"Under a new proposal by Major League Baseball, pitchers would be required to finish their warm-up pitches and be ready to make their first pitch of an inning 30 seconds before the end of all between-inning commercial breaks, sources told ESPN.com.Similarly, hitters would have to be in the batter’s box, ready to start their at-bats, 20 seconds before the end of each break."

It is more than apparent that the new roles are designed solely to enhance the game in the eyes of spectators and those surrounding the sport. Despite changes being made, it would also appear that Major League Baseball is doing its best to not tamper with the sanctity of the sport as a whole.

As Twins fans, pace of play is all too well-known each and every time a pitcher like Mike Pelfrey steps on the mound. Constantly finding himself chastised by Ron Gardenhire postgame, Pelfrey became synonymous with long breaks between pitches, and grueling marathon outings.

For a pitcher, pace is something that plays very importantly into the success of each outing. However, adaptation is something that is also relatively easy to accomplish. Whether the rosin bag needs to be picked up a third time, or that second jaunt around the mound needs to take place is completely debatable, and the game stands to suffer little from eliminating it.

At any rate, with the changes being driven mainly in hopes of enhancing the experience for those who view the game, let us know what you think. Is baseball being changed for the better, or are these differences too far over the top?

Next: Positional Battles: Who's In The Pen For The Twins?

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