Manfred Says MLB Pleased With New Pace-Of-Play Rules
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is "pleased" with how the new pace-of-play rules have worked during the first couple weeks of the season. Manfred noted mound visits "are way down" and said, "Those are breaks in the action we would like to keep to the absolute minimum if we can." Manfred: "We like the pace of the game. We think that the continued focus on inning breaks is a way to shorten periods of inaction without affecting the outcome. I was out this week and talked to players individually, and people seem to have adjusted." He added, "Every time we change something, you get writers and their heads explode and get crazy about it and people are worried about how it will work. We go through a little period of adjustment, and the great athletes that play our game figure out how to make it work” ("Get Up!," ESPN, 4/13). MLB Network's Chris Russo noted games are 5-6 minutes shorter than in '17 and said, "Everybody tells me the catcher scenario back at the mound, the conferences, has curtailed a lot of this slow, dead period" ("High Heat," MLB Network, 4/10).
JUMP-STARTING THE EXCITEMENT: In Cincinnati, Dave Clark noted FS Ohio's Thom Brennaman believes putting runners on base to start extra innings -- a concept being tested in the minor leagues this season -- could help fans "stick around a little bit" during extra inning games. The Reds on Wednesday lost to the Phillies 4-3 in 12 innings, and the crowd at the end of the game was notably smaller than at the start. Brennaman during the broadcast said, "Look around this ballpark. There is nobody here. And this is supposed to be -- theoretically -- the most exciting part of a game. You're in extra innings of a tie game. Compare it to overtime of an NFL game. Overtime of a basketball game. A hockey game. Nobody's leaving those games. People pour out of here the longer you go in extra-inning games. All of a sudden, you start every half-inning with first and second and nobody out, people stick around a little bit." FS Ohio's Chris Welsh "agreed it would bring excitement." Welsh: "What happens a lot of times, the energy of an extra-inning game is that it kind of goes into the favor of the pitcher after about the 12th inning" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/12).