As Major League Baseball and the Players Association (MLBPA) continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to end the lockout, the league is now looking to implement various rule changes in an attempt to improve the pace of play.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been working for years to speed up games, which he hopes would increase viewership and create a more exciting environment for young fans.
The league has been experimenting with pitch clocks since implementing them into Low-A during the 2021 season and then continued to test them in the Arizona Fall League. Aside from a few mixed results in other leagues, the data showed games decreased by around 20 minutes.
With the success of the testing, MLB is now looking to implement the pitch clock at the Major League level and they want two separate timers depending on whether players are on base or not, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN:
Major League Baseball wants to institute a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and a 19-second timer with runners on, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The push for a clock comes after game times in MLB have increased over the years to a record 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Baseball is currently in a league of its own without a set time per pitch, per play, or per game. MLB believes this will begin to increase the game’s popularity as baseball has never had a clock.
Manfred has previously voiced his support for these changes and how it will change strategy in how teams gameplan. However, some pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw, have previously been against the change.
MLBPA rejects automated strike zone
Along with asking for the pitch clock, MLB also asked the players to agree to larger bases, restricting shifts and an automated strike zone. Pending other matters getting resolved, the union is said to be open to some of those changes for 2023.
However, the robotic umpires are not among the rule changes the union is open to considering.
If they can’t agree on this issue, Manfred does have the power to unilaterally implement new rules. Though, he has usually tried to get the union on board with changes.
While those issues need to be worked out, the two sides have already agreed to the universal designated hitter and a Draft lottery, while an expanded postseason looks likely.
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