Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred continues his obsession with speeding up America’s favorite pastime, by aiming to limit replay reviews to two minutes starting in 2017.
If Manfred gets his way, team managers will have 30 seconds to determine if they want to challenge an umpire’s call. If a challenge is initiated, the replay umpires have two minutes to review the play and make a ruling.
The proposed rule change must be formally approved by all the clubs before it goes into effect.
Manfred has already established a new “pitchless” intentional walk for the 2017 season to speed up play. The rule eliminates the requirement for pitchers to throw four intentional balls to send their opponent to first base. Under the new measure, a team needs only to signal to the umpire that they want to walk the batter to advance him to first.
Don’t get your hopes up if you think altering the intentional walk rule will hasten the game. There were just 932 intentional walks issued in the majors last year, which pans out to about one every two-and-a-half games and will hardly make a dent in speeding up a game that now averages three hours.
USA Today reports that the commissioner and MLB union leader Tony Clark intend to confer about additional potential changes for the 2018 season. “I hope we have a nice robust dialogue with the players. I hope they come forward with their ideas on what’s going to happen,” Manfred said. “My biggest single hope is that we make an agreement for what we’re going to do in 2018.’’
In the meantime, if you run out of your Lunesta or Ambien, go ahead and turn on your local MLB game, it will have the same effect.