Getting Ready for Opening Day – Pace of Play
MLB Addresses the “Pace of Game”
One thing that has separated the game of baseball from the other major sports is that there is no clock in baseball. And while two new clocks have been installed this week at Safeco Field and the 29 other Major League ballparks, each team will still get its 27 outs per game (if they need all 27). Teams won’t run out of time, only those valuable outs.
The two clocks (one on the facing of the east end of the left field bleachers; the other behind the plate just below the press box) are there as part of Major League Baseball’s “pace of game initiative.” For most regular season games (other than national telecasts), both clocks will be set to start at 2:25 for each inning break and pitching change, and the countdown will ensure that the pitcher and leadoff hitter are ready to go on time. Over the years, many breaks have lasted over 3 minutes, mostly because the pitcher and hitter aren’t ready to go. And there was no clock to follow.
Fans in the ballpark for the opening series against the Angels (April 6-7-8) can keep track of the time between innings right along with the umpires:
- With 30 seconds left on the clock, the pitcher must throw his final warm-up pitch.
- With 25 seconds left, the batter walk-up music will end.
- The batter must be in the batter’s box with between the 20-second and 5-seconds remaining.
- The pitcher must begin his windup before the clock runs out.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between “pace of game” and “time of game.” In 2014, Mariners regular season “time of game” average 2:45, the fastest team in MLB. Pace of game is meant to keep the game action itself moving along between pitches, between batters and between innings.
One Foot in the Box
Another area of emphasis in 2015 will be the enforcement of rule which requires that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box during an at-bat. There are several common sense exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, this also should improve the pace of play. Keep an eye on this as the season gets underway.
Here is a visual look at the new pace of game guidelines: