Barry Zito buys a full-page ad to thank Giants fans

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Barry Zito’s time in San Francisco is almost certainly over. His seven years with the Giant did coincide with much organizational success but, obviously, Zito experienced more personal downs than ups in the orange and black.

But to the extent Zito struggled in San Francisco, he never felt abandoned by fans. Or of he did he’s being a big guy about it and putting it behind him. He showed that by taking out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle to thank Giants fans:

 

Seems like a pretty darn decent guy. Not just for the ad, of course. For all of the trouble he had on the field, you rarely if ever heard him say anything negative or, for that matter, people say anything negative about him personally. Sometimes guys don’t do as well as you hoped they do. Often when that happens, the relationship between the player and his team (and the fans) ends ugly.

Not with Zito. Not with the Giants. Not with Giants fans.

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%.