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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Regular season games must end within two hours. Constitutional amendment 1.

1. Regular season games must end within two hours.  Playoff games may have an additional 30 minutes for overtime.
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Friday, June 8, 2012
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This is the first of 15 constitutional amendments previously proposed.  Below are suggestions for implementation.

Supposedly at least one team in Japan ends its games at a time certain to accommodate the last train.  I like that approach.  However, let's explore trying to get the games completed within the two hour limit.

Why two hours?  Most acceptable forms of entertainment, such as movies, end within two hours.  Watching a baseball game should not take up too much of our day.  Plus, MBL games are BORING!

July 16, 2013    The Wall Street Journal
The findings: 90% of the game is spent standing around.
By STEVE MOYER

By WSJ calculations, a baseball fan will see 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action over the course of a three-hour game. This is roughly the equivalent of a TED Talk, a Broadway intermission or the missing section of the Watergate tapes...

The WSJ reached this number by taking the stopwatch to three different games and timing everything that happened. We then categorized the parts of the game that could fairly be considered "action" and averaged the results. The almost 18-minute average included balls in play, runner advancement attempts on stolen bases, wild pitches, pitches (balls, strikes, fouls and balls hit into play), trotting batters (on home runs, walks and hit-by-pitches), pickoff throws and even one fake-pickoff throw. This may be generous. If we'd cut the action definition down to just the time when everyone on the field is running around looking for something to do (balls in play and runner advancement attempts), we'd be down to 5:47...

By far the most time-consuming period of inaction is the "time between pitches."...

This season's average game time of three hours and three minutes is the longest game duration since Stats LLC started tracking the numbers in 1987
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Six minutes of action.  SIX.

We could leave most of the game alone and simply reduce the number of innings from 9 to 7.  I'm guessing that would be the preference of Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig, the individual probably most responsible for games becoming such a boring mess.  Selig just cannot seem to enforce the few feeble rules that would speed things up.  Selig is too busy being the steroid sheriff.

There is also the issue of what to do if games are tied after two hours.  I'd say, leave them tied and only count wins.  That way a tie is the same as a loss.  That should get the managers to be significantly more aggressive in trying to win.

OK, here we go.

Dead time between each of the roughly 300 pitches is both the greatest number of places to reduce time and also the main cause for a lack of pace and hence the crushingly boring nature of MBL games.  The most direct way to reduce this dead time is through a group of enhancements with other positive qualities.

1. Eliminate the catcher.
2. Change the strike zone from a vague three dimensional imaginary area to a fixed physical target placed behind home plate.
3. Extend foul territory 45 feet from home plate into fair territory.
4. Move the 9th fielder, formerly the catcher, from harm's way into fair territory, eliminating the catcher's box.
5. Move the plate umpire from harm's way to behind the pitcher.
6. Base runners must remain on the base until the ball is hit.

Benefits:
- No signs from catcher to pitcher.
- No need for catcher and pitcher to meet.
- Bunting all but eliminated.
- Squibs in front of plate are not in play.
- No throws to bases to hold runners.
- Pitcher can use one pitching motion.

Another group:
- Start the count at 3-2.
- Batter gets three pitches to put he ball in play, then is out.

More rule changes:
- If the batter steps out of the box, the batter is out.
- Three time outs per team.  That includes a batter or base runner asking for time for no apparent reason.
- No meetings.
- Change pitchers on the fly.
- Coaches (including the head coach, aka, manager) banned from the playing field.
- No warm up pitches between innings.
- Allow a form of "free substitution".  Injured players are quickly replaced and play resumed expeditiously.

We could also limit the time between innings but obviously that is a function of television commercials so I'll leave that for the MBL to negotiate with its sponsors.

I think these changes should do the trick.  If not, too bad. After two hours the game is over.

I'll leave the matter of playoff or tournament games for another post.

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