MLB Rules Changes 2015 – Speed up the pace of games
For years, one of the biggest complaints about attending Major League Baseball games, was the length of the games. Unlike just about every other major American sport, baseball isn’t governed by a clock. While some fans love the batting rituals unique to every player, or the long pauses at the mound while pitchers ice batters, others called for limits on the amount of time spent in between the ball being put in play. With 2015 Opening Day just around the corner, MLB has released a new set of rules posted by Major League Baseball to attempt to streamline the speed of baseball games.
Over the past 10 years, MLB games have been steadily trending to longer and longer game times. During that span, the average length of baseball games rose by almost 30 minutes, pushing average game times to the longest that they have been since game times were recorded in the 1950’s.
New MLB Rules for 2015:
Countdown Timers: Timers will be used to limit the length of time between each half-inning. The timers will count down from either 2:45 or 2:25, depending on if the game is being broadcast locally or nationally. Batters will be expected to be in the batter’s box with 20 second left to go on this clock. These countdown timers will also be put into effect during pitching changes.
Hitters: Batters will now have to keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches. There are a few exceptions to this, including if a pitch is fouled off.
Instant Replay: Managers instant replay challenges must be made from the dugout, not the field, limiting the amount of time that a manager can delay the play on the field.
Looking at the average major league baseball game times versus the total attendance numbers for a given season, there does not seem to be a correlation between longer game times, and diminished attendance or ticket prices. In fact the overall attendance was almost 1 million fans higher in 2014 with the longer games, than it was in 2004. While there are many factors that go into the number of fans that attend a the entire baseball season, one thing is certain for the 2015 MLB Season, fans will be spending less time in their seats.