Pitch clocks, shift limits, larger bases in MLB’s future

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Sports

LOS ANGELES — Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and the rest of major league pitchers are likely to be looking over their shoulders next season: at a pitch clock.Clocks have cut the length of minor league games by about a half-hour this year, and baseball officials appear certain to promote the timers to the majors.“I think it needs it, obviously. And I think it’s coming regardless of opposition of the players. It’s kind of our fault,” the Yankees’ Cole said ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game. “We’ve known it’s been an issue and its importance and we don’t seem to clean it up.”Major League Baseball also is considering shift limits, larger bases, restrictions on pickoff attempts and — perhaps in 2024 — limited use of robot umpires to call balls and strikes. The new collective bargaining agreement includes an 11-person competition committee with six management representatives, four players and one umpire, and it is empowered to make changes by majority vote with 45 days notice.Average time of nine-inning games increased from 2 hours, 43 minutes in 2003 to 3:13 in 2020 before dropping to 3:02 so far this season through July 12, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. A clock experiment in the minor leagues cut the average this year to 2:37 from 3:04 at a similar point for non-clock games last year.“At first, I wasn’t buying into …

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