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Timeouts


DrungoHazewood

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Inspired by a mostly-unrelated thread on Tom Tango's blog, what do you think of the idea of speeding up the pace of baseball games by giving teams a set number of timeouts per game?

It works like this - any time you want to stop the normal flow of the game you have to use one of your time outs. If you want to visit the mound, it's a timeout. If you want to step out of the batter's box for any reason besides a 3" shard of wood is sticking out of your eye, it's a timeout. If the manager wants to hold up the game to come out and aruge, it's a timeout. Each team gets, say, five timeouts a game. And one extra for each three innings of extra innings.

So if you want to play LaRussaball and have five mid-inning pitching changes a game, you better have your batters never stepping out, and you can't ever come out to argue.

I've only been thinking about this for three minutes, but I don't see much downside. Limits pitching changes, keeps pace up, almost eliminates obsessive-compulsive batting glove adjustments. What's not to like?

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It allows the pitcher to practice gamesmanship but does not allow the hitter the same opportunity.

I would much rather limit mound visits to once an inning per pitcher and just have the umps clamp down on calling time on hitters. If a new Nomar wants to adjust his gloves after every pitch the ump just tells him time isn't granted, but if a new Trachsel is out there circling the mound the batter should be able to step out in response.

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It allows the pitcher to practice gamesmanship but does not allow the hitter the same opportunity.

I would much rather limit mound visits to once an inning per pitcher and just have the umps clamp down on calling time on hitters. If a new Nomar wants to adjust his gloves after every pitch the ump just tells him time isn't granted, but if a new Trachsel is out there circling the mound the batter should be able to step out in response.

You could always make leaving the mound a timeout.

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As long as there are ways to deal with a player injury that doesn't require a timeout (but also keeps pitchers getting shelled from faking an injury to get pulled without a timeout) I'm for it.

You could either accept the fact that people will always try to game the system, or make a rule that says if you leave the game due to injury without a charged timeout you have to miss the next scheduled game/start.

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You could always make leaving the mound a timeout.

Yea but then you got the rosin bag, and shaking off pitches, and throwing to first 4-5 times in a row. I think it would still give too much an advantage to the pitcher.

I would rather make it clear to the Umps that its part of their job to keep the game moving and have them police excessive behavior. With rewards if they do and negative ramifications if they don't.

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Yea but then you got the rosin bag, and shaking off pitches, and throwing to first 4-5 times in a row. I think it would still give too much an advantage to the pitcher.

I would rather make it clear to the Umps that its part of their job to keep the game moving and have them police excessive behavior. With rewards if they do and negative ramifications if they don't.

I'd do something to limit throws to first. And I'd charge a timeout if the catcher came to the mound to talk over the signs.

Umps used to make the pace of the game a priority, back before lights were in every park. If you didn't keep the game moving, every one would have ended after six or seven innings. But without a real motivating factor like that it's pretty clear the umps can't or won't do much to improve the pace of the game.

And yes, I know we're venturing into the "baseball won't ever touch this because it wasn't this way when the Brooklyn Dodgers played" territory. Still fun to discuss. Maybe an indy league could try this - the Northern League experiemented with a pitch clock their first year.

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I'd do something to limit throws to first. And I'd charge a timeout if the catcher came to the mound to talk over the signs.

Umps used to make the pace of the game a priority, back before lights were in every park. If you didn't keep the game moving, every one would have ended after six or seven innings. But without a real motivating factor like that it's pretty clear the umps can't or won't do much to improve the pace of the game.

And yes, I know we're venturing into the "baseball won't ever touch this because it wasn't this way when the Brooklyn Dodgers played" territory. Still fun to discuss. Maybe an indy league could try this - the Northern League experiemented with a pitch clock their first year.

If you limit throws to first, what's going to happen when you reach your limit and the runner is halfway to second before you release the pitch? Yeah, there's strategy there, but why are we artificially increasing strategy? Why not make it the umpire's job to enforce the speed of the game, maybe by incentivizing those umpires whose games average the best times: maybe include it in a larger system of grading that would involve postseason assignments and maybe even time in the minors.

You're right about it being an interesting discussion, though.

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Quite simply the umpires just need to keep the game flowing by not giving timeouts to batters for stepping out after every pitch unless they are receiving signals for a coach. Pitchers who keep walking behind the mound and taking too much time should be given warnings and then a ball should be given to the batter. The batter/pitcher matchup is one of the best parts of baseball but it doesn't need to include all the time wasting both sides do.

As for pitching changes, limit the new pitcher to three warm up tosses. The guy should already be warmed up in the bullpen and three pitches is enough to get a feel for the mound.

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Quite simply the umpires just need to keep the game flowing by not giving timeouts to batters for stepping out after every pitch unless they are receiving signals for a coach. Pitchers who keep walking behind the mound and taking too much time should be given warnings and then a ball should be given to the batter. The batter/pitcher matchup is one of the best parts of baseball but it doesn't need to include all the time wasting both sides do.

As for pitching changes, limit the new pitcher to three warm up tosses. The guy should already be warmed up in the bullpen and three pitches is enough to get a feel for the mound.

I agree that umpires need to do a better job of speeding the game up. I would only allow a batter to take just one foot out of the box during his at bat. Exceptions would be made obviously for broken bats and fouled balls off the foot.

I would put an end to throwing the ball around before the start of an innning or maybe allow it during odd innings or lineup changes.

I wouldn't limit warm up pitches on pitching changes. Let the guy get used to the rubber. 6-9 pitches should suffice.

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I don't think timeouts in any sense would be good for baseball. I'm all for having the umpires being more strict about walking outside of the batters box or walking around on the mound. But to limit throws to first, pitching changes, arguments, etc would sacrifice strategy for no real gain, in my mind.

The main thing I want to see to speed up the game is a gradual return to the natural strike zone, from the knees to the letters. It would be a difficult process, because you have to change the mindset of the umpire, batter, and pitcher, but I think it would be good for the game. As someone who has played baseball a whole lot, both as a pitcher and a hitter, I just don't understand the low strike zone called by most umpires. A pitch at the bellybutton should be a strike, but too often it isn't called that way.

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I think I can speak for Mike "The Human Rain Delay" Hargrove, in that he thinks this is a terrible idea. ;)

I still can remember hearing Chuck Thompson announce the actions that Hargrove was doing to get prepared to bat. And than he would go through the same routine after each pitch. He was much worse than Nomar Garciaparra...

He also attained the nickname "The Human Rain Delay" for his deliberate routine at the plate before each at-bat and before each pitch. He drove pitchers crazy by stepping out of the batter's box after each pitch and starting his routine, which consisted of (1) adjusting his helmet, (2) adjusting his batting glove, making sure it was tight on his hand and especially the thumb, (3) pulling each sleeve on his uniform up about an inch, and (4) wiping each hand on his uniform pants - and then sometimes repeating the whole process again - before finally settling back into the box. Towards the end of his career this trait was very well known and often commented upon by broadcasters.

Wiki

It is really up to MLB to have the umpire speed up the games by not allowing the players to go through such routines and delay tactics.

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I feel like I'm in the minority in society today, but I think the speed of the game is exactly the speed it's supposed to be. It's as much a "game" as it is a "sport". Throwing over to first base ten times is sometimes part of the chess match. Stepping out of the batters box when the pitcher is trying to mess with your timing is part of the game. If people have a problem with the speed of the game, they would probably be happier picking a different sport than trying to correct the problem.

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