A gorgeous Friday afternoon in Salt River Field at Talking Sticks. Can’t outdo the scenery I shot there a couple of years ago, so nice to take a look back here. What is new are the MLB Pace of Game Initiatives being tested at all Salt River Field home games. The idea is to add a clock to speed up the game that used to be timeless.
Well here was the main dude on Friday, with his headset on and the clock in the background. A maximum of 20 seconds for the pitcher to deliver the ball; 2:05 max between innings; and 2:30 max to implement a pitching change. I can tell you one thing – none of the rules were enforced as far as we could tell. It may be at this point John Schuerholz and his pace of game committee are still getting the kinks out, because there were numerous times when the pitcher failed to deliver the ball within 20 seconds without consequence. It’ll be interesting to see if they enforce it at Salt River for the Fall Star Game on Saturday evening.
Oddly the pace of game initiatives on Friday showed that attempts to speed up the game by clock can be b offset by the forced time outs for instant replay. The head honcho in the first row of the stands was connected to the home plate umpire so that he could signal whenever the New York replay operations center decided to review a call. These mostly came on close calls of runners stealing a base or sliding to home plate. One wonders if it might be extended to the infamous phantom tags of second base on double play balls.
Another interesting tidbit with “instant’ replay is that the pitcher hangs around waiting for the word to come from New York. Baseball has always been a game of rhythm, and I would imagine for some pitchers the forced delay without the opportunity to stay warmed up might hurt the game as much as it’s intended to get the call right. I do sense that they’re trying to keep the time out during these replays to a minimum, but it’s still a work in progress on the judgment of when to force stoppage to review close calls. Rumor had it yesterday that umpires might have to answer to a higher authority.