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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pace of play warning month was not enforced. Now what?

Am I the only one who is even more aggravated by dead time between pitches now that reform is supposedly being implemented?

Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer, on pace of play changes: evolutionary, rather than radical. Thursday, April 2, 2015

Don't be fooled by the total length of games decreasing.  The issue is the PACE of play when the players are supposed to be playing. Play is the key syllable.

Daniel Murphy of the Mets actually pauses to adjust his batting gloves between each pitch.  Who else does that anymore?  Pretty much every batter places one foot out of the batter's box after each pitch.

After the first couple of the exhibition games I did not notice any meaningful attempt by batters to adjust to the changes and stop jerking around.  The first month of the regular season was supposed to be a grace period during which umpires would warn batters of violations of new speed up rules.  Has anyone noticed any umpire warn any batter?  I have not. May 1 batters are supposed to be fined for delays.  Who decides?  The same lame umpires who are now aiding and abetting the slow down?

And batters are predictably sliding back into their bad habits.  They are even starting to turn their backs on home plate and walk away between pitches.  That's something that started about four years ago and had become increasingly prevalent and is the one reform this season that showed noticeable improvement and now even that nonsense is showing up again.

With one exception dealt with below, batters never bother to ask for time out.  Umpires never call time out.  Never.  The one foot out of the box is, as I had predicted, an implied time out, which the pitchers mindlessly never challenge.  Would it kill a pitcher to throw one right down the middle as soon as the batter steps out with one foot?  It should be a strike.  What's the plate umpire going to do, call a quick pitch?  The ump never called time out after the batter had been set, so how is it a quick pitch?  If the batter dropped his guard, that's his fault.  Protect yourself at all times.  That's the basic rule in boxing and in football.

What's with the deal of a batter actually asking for time as the pitcher is starting his delivery and the plate umpire sprinting out of position and waving like crazy that time is out?  What the heck is that?  Why do that?  Is it some lame attempt to protect the batter in case he is incapacitated?  If something blew into the batter's eye, too bad.  In football a cornerback may not ask for time out after a play has started because a gust of wind blew something into his eye.  Good luck with that.

Play does not stop for equipment replacement when a lineman's shoulder pads pop a strap.  The lineman plays on or leaves for repair and is replaced.  Oh, I forgot.  Baseball is too primitive to permit re-entry.  Instead everyone stands around like doofuses.

Once that batter is set, unless he leaves the box to legitimately run out a batted ball, he must remain in the box or be called out.  You step out, you're out, even if you step with only one foot.  Pretty simple, basic and fair.  Come on.  Dead time between pitches is killing baseball.  Even after Dr. Death, Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, has past from the national pastime that's past its time.

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