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Intentional walk rule change may be felt most by Mattingly’s Marlins


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JUPITER Don Mattingly ordered more intentional walks — 62 — than any other manager in the majors last season. This season, the process of putting a batter on base won’t take quite as long.

 

Major League Baseball is doing away with the formality of having pitchers lob four balls out of the strike zone in order to walk a batter intentionally. Instead, managers will merely need to signal their desire with the point of a finger or some yet unknown gesture.

 

“I think it’s good,” the Marlins manager said of the new rule change, which the players’ association agreed to on Wednesday. “It just seems to make sense. Nobody needs to see that, really.”

 

The change is being made in order to help speed up games, which are becoming increasingly longer. Last season, games were four minutes and 28 seconds longer on average than they were the year before. And while eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk is expected to shave off about a minute each time, the league wants to implement more radical rule changes to create more action.

 

The most divisive of the league’s proposals: shrinking the strike zone. The league would like to raise the lower part of the strike zone, from just below the cup behind the batter’s kneecap to just above it — an approximate two-inch shrinkage of the strike zone. The reason: The league feels it will reduce the number of walks and strikeouts and lead to an increase in balls batted in play.

 

Last season marked an all-time low in balls put in play.

 

But the player’s union isn’t on board with that proposal, and now MLB commissioner Rob Manfred — citing a “lack of cooperation” on the union’s part — said he might use his authority to implement the rule on his own in 2018, with or without their approval.

 

Players aren’t happy about it.

 

“Just because we don’t like what’s been proposed doesn’t mean we’re not cooperating,” Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler said. Koehler, who is the team’s union representative, said there has been plenty of dialogue with the league on the topic.

 

Koehler, Marlins pitcher David Phelps and others aren’t convinced that shrinking the strike zone will create more action by reducing walks while increasing balls put in play. Just the opposite.

 

“In my mind, making the strike zone smaller leads to more walks, higher pitch counts, more pitching changes,” Phelps said. “In a sense, you’re adding time. Making the strike zone smaller does not get more balls in play. It makes [batters] more selective.”

 

Two years ago, the league required hitters to remain in the batter’s box, a move that effectively shortened game times. Those who didn’t were either warned or fined.

 

Koehler said the warnings and fines continued into last season. But it seemed to many that the rule wasn’t enforced as strictly last season and hitters returned to their old habits.

 

“They started letting guys out of the box again,” Mattingly said.

 

“It’s deteriorated back to that. Keeping guys in the box keeps the game moving. So I hope we get guys back in the box.”

 

Most everyone involved agrees that the time required to rule on replay reviews needs to be shortened, or even capped at, say, two minutes. Some reviews have taken close to five minutes.

 

“There’s no way any replay should ever take five minutes,” Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler said.

 

“If it takes that long, leave [the original call] as is. Give the umpire the benefit of the doubt.”

 

Eliminating four-pitch intentional walks might not make a noticeable impact.

 

After all, there were only 932 of them last season and, at a minute a pop, it would amount to just  15 1/2 hours in time saved over the entire season.

 

But every little bit helps.

 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/fish-bytes/article134398059.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

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This will shave off maybe 34 seconds from each game

 

Baseball was intolerably boring and tedious to watch before!

 

But now, DON'T BLINK OR YOU'LL MISS TEH ACTION!

 

Seriously the Miguel Cabrera hit is the best thing ever, and setting aside the obvious pointlessness of this, the occasional pitcher bouncing an intentional ball to the backstop is one of the rare moments of pure joy watching a baseball game and I'll be damned if Rob Manfred is going to take that away from me.  Wait, it's done already?  Dammit.

 

 

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The worst will be when Manfred starts limiting bullpen usage somehow. We are arriving at an era where teams are relying more on relievers but that's also slowing down the games.

 

I think they are dwelling too much on pace of play. Fans care more about quality of play and epic match ups.

 

 

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The worst will be when Manfred starts limiting bullpen usage somehow. We are arriving at an era where teams are relying more on relievers but that's also slowing down the games.

I think they are dwelling too much on pace of play. Fans care more about quality of play and epic match ups.

I would be very much in favor of limiting mound visits especially from catchers and other infielders.

 

That shit has gotten out of hand.

 

Eliminating that speeds up your pace tremendously.

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I don't think pace is even a problem. MLB is making money. They're fine. Just being greedy at this point.

 

A smarter thing would be to do something about pathetic teams like Tampa, consider contraction, and keep out carpetbag owners like Jeffrey Loria.

 

Also crack down on guaranteed moneys for players, although the player's union would never allow it.  Prince Fielder is being paid $100 million to do nothing and watch Netflix.

 

 

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I don't think pace is even a problem. MLB is making money. They're fine. Just being greedy at this point.

A smarter thing would be to do something about pathetic teams like Tampa, consider contraction, and keep out carpetbag owners like Jeffrey Loria.

Also crack down on guaranteed moneys for players, although the player's union would never allow it.  Prince Fielder is being paid $100 million to do nothing and watch Netflix.

 

Prince fielder not playing though isn't necessarily his fault though.

 

There are far more terrible deals than a guy forced to retire from injury

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I don't think pace is even a problem. MLB is making money. They're fine. Just being greedy at this point.

 

A smarter thing would be to do something about pathetic teams like Tampa, consider contraction, and keep out carpetbag owners like Jeffrey Loria.

 

Also crack down on guaranteed moneys for players, although the player's union would never allow it.  Prince Fielder is being paid $100 million to do nothing and watch Netflix.

 

I can't tell f you are being serious or not, but contraction is nowhere near a possibility for scores of reasons. 

 

The clearest place to create time savings is between innings.  If the lost advertising dollars are of a concern then I think fans would accept scrolling ads on screen if if meant less time in between innings and pitching changes.  The idea of putting replay reviews on a clock has also been raised and that would seem to make a lot of sense too.  Ultimately once you get to a place were our average game is 3 hours I think the me is  ad place.  We are pretty close to that anyway.

 

 

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The worst will be when Manfred starts limiting bullpen usage somehow. We are arriving at an era where teams are relying more on relievers but that's also slowing down the games.

 

I think they are dwelling too much on pace of play. Fans care more about quality of play and epic match ups.

 

I agree with quality first. But now and days, people generally need constant action and everything not to take too long. Apparently quality can be sacrificed, but they won't admit it. Technology age.

 

 

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