After what Bud Selig called a successful experiment in the 2014 Arizona Fall League, a pitch clock will be used during AA and AAA minor league games this season. Details, such as exactly how much time will be allowed between pitches, have yet to be announced.
AFL pitchers were required to throw within 12 seconds with no runners on base and within 20 seconds when a base was occupied. There was a maximum of 2:05 between innings and a 2:30 limit for a pitching change. Hitters had to keep at least one foot in the batter's box at all times.
Of course, there is already a rule in place to deal with slow-working pitchers, if MLB wishes to curb such behaviour. Note Rule 8.04:
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call Ball.Has any major league umpire ever enforced this rule?
Rob Neyer highlights an important difference in this debate:
What I would like to know is how many seconds are saved between pitches, because it's not the time of the games but rather the pace of the play that should, I think, legitimately concern the Lords of Baseball (which now includes the Players of Baseball).Additional reading:
Grant Brisbee: Pitch clocks are (eventually) coming to baseball
Noah Jarosh: MLB's pitch clocks will ruin the game, unless they save it first (Roundtable discussion)
Under a new proposal by Major League Baseball, pitchers would be required to finish their warm-up pitches and be ready to make their first pitch of an inning 30 seconds before the end of all between-inning commercial breaks, sources told ESPN.com.
Similarly, hitters would have to be in the batter's box, ready to start their at-bats, 20 seconds before the end of each break.
Both proposals are designed to tighten the time between half-innings, which has grown, on average, to more than three minutes, even though regular-season commercial breaks during games that are not nationally televised are supposed to last just 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
Baseball officials believe that if play is ready to resume moments after each break ends, they could shorten games by 10 to 15 minutes. Just those efforts alone would bring the average game time to below three hours without enacting any other pace-of-game measures.