Baseball’s game clocks and pitch clocks are working

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Before this season started the big news was how, in the bigs, baseball would implement a between-innings clock and mandate that batters stay in the batters box. In the minors those rules applied, plus the implementation of a 20-second pitch clock. The results have been pretty darn good reports the New York Times:

Chris Marinak, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for league economics and strategy, said the average length of a nine-inning game had declined from 3 hours 2 minutes in 2014 (the first time it had been over 3 hours) to 2:54. Marinak said the eight-minute drop was the biggest decline in game time since 1963.

In the minors, where the pitch clock is also helping to move things along, the reduction has generally been even larger. Through games on Aug. 17, the average length of a nine-inning game in the Class AAA International League had fallen to 2:41, from 2:56 in 2014, a 15-minute decline that was the biggest among the minor leagues.

Right behind was the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, with a drop to 2:45 from 2:58. In Class AA, the Eastern League shaved off 12 minutes (2:38 from 2:50) and the Southern League, 11 minutes (2:41 from 2:52).

The clocks are weird and the idea of putting a clock on baseball seems wrong somehow. But baseball players are nothing if not creatures of habit and routine. After a short time with the clocks, they changed those routines and have gotten into quicker ones, I reckon. Just like they slowly, over the course of a decade or so, got into the habit of taking their sweet dang time.

As for time, that’s secondary. Most fans probably don’t think too much about ten or 15 minutes here or there unless they’re closely watching the clock. But the pace that leads to that time being shaved off is noticeable. That better pace, with slightly less dead time between pitches, has been improved, and that’s the real takeaway here.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”