These discussions aren’t new, and there are already of rules — mostly unenforced — designed to keep games moving along. Now, we’re not talking about the game dragging out forever: the average length of a game this season is three hours, five minutes, up five minutes from 2016. Last year, Manfred proposed a series of changes that were designed to speed up the game, such as limiting visits to the mound and implementing a time clock. But the player’s union rejected the changes. Manfred does have the authority to implement the changes without union approval, given there’s a year’s notice. But it sounds like Manfred would rather work out a deal with Tony Clark and union reps rather than unilaterally imposing new rules. From the Washington Post:
“We met with Tony Clark and a group of players last week,” Manfred said. “The tone of those conversations have been very positive. Hats off to Tony and the players on that, and I remain confident that we will have changes for next year on the issue of pace of game that will be significant.”
Manfred declined to get into any specifics about possible changes or what the league might do if it is unable to reach a deal with the union.
“I think the best course for baseball — and by that I mean the clubs and the players — is for us to get an agreement,” he said.
As you can see from the links below, pace of play has been an issue for several years. For 2017, MLB introduced no-pitch intentional walks and various changes for replay review. Meanwhile, the camp-based Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues are experimenting with new extra innings rules that could limit the time of games.
RELATED STORIES: PCL Continues Pace of Play Initiatives; Pace-of-game rules impacting the game–in a good way; MiLB unveils pace-of play rules for Double-A, Triple-A Games; MLB announces pace-of-play changes for 2015