Updated set of rules for 2015 eliminate dead time
Just in time for the 2015 season, Major League Baseball (MLB) implemented a new set of rules to help speed up the pace of the game. These new rules were released on February 20 and are called “pace-of-play” rules. According to commissioner Rob Manfred, who took over after the end of the 2014 season, the goal of the new rules is to eliminate dead time during the games.
The new rules to baseball shorten the time for commercial breaks, insist that managers stay in their dugouts during replay reviews and dictate that batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box during at bats. The last rule is the most complicated. This rule allows the batter to remove his foot from the box only if there is a foul ball, a stolen base attempt, a wild pitch, a bunt attempt, or a timeout called by the pitcher, the batter and or the manager.
As a diehard baseball fan, I am in favor of these new changes. There is nothing worse than having the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, but having to wait five minutes for the inning to start because of a commercial break.
In the 1970s, the average time of a baseball game broadcasted on TV was 2 hours, thirty minutes. In the 2014 season, the average time was 3 hours, 8 minutes (MLB.com). Most of this time is due to the increase in commercial breaks. Although it is important for TV networks to have sponsors and to advertise for them, this added time can be a major turn off for many fans.
Another reason baseball games are getting longer is because of the time players spend stepping in and out of the batter’s box between pitches. Although this may not seem like a big deal, when players do it after every pitch, the time adds up.
Take Brewers’ slugger Ryan Braun, for example. Braun re-adjusts his batting gloves after every pitch thrown his way. Braun had 530 plate appearances last season averaging around three pitches each. If Braun, like most players, stepped out of the box two out of every three pitches, that’s 358 times per season. Cutting down on time spent re-adjusting batting gloves, helmets and shoes for each player will significantly increase the speed of play.
It’s hard for me to remember the last time I sat down and watched an entire baseball game on television from start to finish. Often during pitching changes or between innings, the breaks would be too long and I’d lose interest even during the most exciting games. Many fans share the same view and expressed their displeasure with the increasing length of games. Finally, the MLB has listened and changed for the better.
These new rules are benificial because they will decrease the game time as well as speed up the pace of play without detracting from the fun of the game. The MLB has made some great changes for the upcoming season that will hopefully bring more fans back to baseball.
by Olivia Holbrook