Nate McLouth doesn’t miss Pittsburgh:
“Things here are a lot more positive and relaxed,” McLouth said.
“People aren’t so … uptight. Losing for so long, there’s so many
negative things said about the Pirates. It’s tough to read them; you
get defensive. The thing is, it’s true and it’s tough to deal with that
negativity every day. It was kind of nice to get here to an
organization that’s won for a long time.”
Oh, and he has new contact lenses which he said he’s probably needed for years. Why didn’t he get them before now?
The Pirates checked his vision each year during spring training, but never detected any problems. “A blind man could pass that test they do,” McLouth said, noting it basically consisted of reading an eye chart.
Ouch. Rob Neyer lately has been talking about how teams are often penny wise and pound foolish, spending all kinds of money and mental energy on big name players but spending scant dollars and almost zero mental energy on little things like player nutrition, conditioning and stuff.
If what McLouth is saying is true, put the Pirates’ eye test in that same category.
NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.
The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.
Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.
Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.
MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.
Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.
There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.
Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.
Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.
Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.