For several years, MLB has been worried about pace of play.
The league has introduced several initiatives designed to help speed up the pace of games.
While some of those rules have been successful in achieving that goal, the league has also introduced some rules in recent years that are hurting the pace of play initiative.
It goes without saying that MLB needs to pick its battles.
Let’s dive into two new rules in particular that are making games longer.
2. The Foreign Substance Ban
Since introducing new rules for the way that the foreign substance ban would be enforced, we’ve seen several incidents interrupt gameplay.
Recently, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three different times, and the third occasion came in the middle of the inning.
Scherzer was understandably frustrated, and the incident turned into a big ordeal that delayed the game for several minutes.
This is incredible.
Joe Girardi asked the umpires to check Max Scherzer for sticky stuff again.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 23, 2021
While wanting to enforce the ban of foreign substances is fair, the league desperately needs to figure out a better way of doing it.
One idea that comes to mind is each team getting the right to ask for two checks on a starting pitcher per game.
Here is why it could work.
Let’s say an opposing manager uses his first check in the first inning of the game, and the pitcher is found to be clean.
As the game goes on, the manager is going to be hesitant to use his second check, because once he does, he would have no way of holding the opposing starting pitcher accountable for the rest of the game.
In other words, there would be nothing stopping the starting pitcher from using a foreign substance once both checks have been used.
That part could present some concerns, but the idea is that managers would realistically only use one check per game and would keep that second one in their back pocket to ensure that the starting pitcher doesn’t tap into the sticky stuff once the checks are all gone.
Once the starting pitcher is out of the game, there would have to be another system in place for how often an opposing manager can ask for a check of relief pitchers.
1. Video Review
Video review has been around for several seasons now, and although it has largely been a net positive, is has some flaws.
First off, the league makes the wrong decision on video review calls way too often.
It feels like once a night, somewhere in the league, the wrong decision is reached even with clear and concise video evidence.
That’s certainly extremely frustrating and is something that needs to be fixed.
What’s even the point of MLB replay?
— Will Schroder (@willschroder5) June 16, 2021
Second, and most relevantly, video reviews often take way too long.
If MLB was really worried about pace of play, it would find a way to speed up the replay process.
There is nothing more frustrating than sitting at home as a fan, seeing the replay once, being able to correctly assess what the call should be, and then having to wait five minutes for the umpires to make a call (and often make it incorrectly).