Red Sox Nation is full of lunatics

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Hey, don’t yell at me. It’s your manager saying so at yesterday’s Red Sox Town Hall:

The topic often meandered back to the excitement level, and each panel member discussed what it was like to perform their duties in a baseball-mad town like Boston. Francona may have summed it up best when he talked about his early years and getting to know just how passionate the fans are: “I was a little naïve. … I had no idea. Now that I do live here, I understand how important it is to these lunatics. If you care about baseball, there’s no other place to be.”

As someone who often tut-tuts overzealous fandom, I should acknowledge that, if I had to choose, I’d much rather that my team was followed by lunatics who occasionally get a bit too crazy as opposed to people who are generally apathetic unless the team is actually in the damn World Series and have to be told specifically to cheer and get excited.  Which describes Braves fans for the most part, as well as the fan bases for a lot of teams.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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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%.