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Volume 24 No. 200
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MLB, Union Getting Close On Details For Pitch Clock, With Hope Of Implementing Next Season

The MLBPA is "willing to participate in the shaping of any rule changes" for '18, including the addition of a pitch clock, according to Ken Rosenthal of THE ATHLETIC. Reps from MLB, the MLBPA, Marlins and Nationals met last month in DC, where players "tossed out a number of ideas." Among them was whether the pitch clock must "be 20 seconds between every pitch, as proposed by the commissioner’s office last offseason," or whether it could be "turned off with men on base." The positive tone from both sides is notable considering that just six months earlier MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had "taken a confrontational stance with the union," noting the CBA "empowered him to implement unilateral changes with a one-year advance notice." Sources said that the union has "yet to make a formal proposal to the commissioner’s office on pace-of-play issues." However, a solution before Spring Training "would be in the best interests of the players, giving them ample time to adjust" for the '18 season. Sources added that a "series of adjustments" through a multiyear rollout is also "possible." Marlins P Brad Ziegler said, "I appreciate their willingness to continue to have a dialogue with us, instead of ramming things down our throats they know we don’t want." Rosenthal reported Manfred’s "open-mindedness ... stems in part from his desire to strike a deal rather than pick a fight with the players" less than one year after reaching a new CBA. Meanwhile, replay is another "area of concern." The average time of review has "dropped to 1 minute, 28 seconds this season," down from 1:36 in '16 and 1:51 in '15. But sources said that both sides are "prepared to scrap a rule, introduced this season, that allows managers 30 seconds to request a replay review." Managers "occasionally take longer, adding even more dead time to the delay" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/12).

AND WE'RE BACK FROM THE BREAK: Manfred said inning breaks are "something we need to look really hard at" in the future. He said, "We need to at a minimum tighten them up. I think we need to be open to considering changes in our commercial load. Every inning break from a broadcast perspective is an opportunity for a fan to tune away from our game. The shorter those breaks are, the shorter the opportunity for them to turn away" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10).