In 2015 Major League Baseball implemented measures to speed up the game, both in terms of pace and in terms of overall length. A between innings clock, warnings to pitchers and batters and threats to call balls and/or strikes if they dilly-dallied too much were imposed. It worked too: game length was reduced for the first time in a long time and there was little if any blowback from the players.
Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that this year, however, game length is back up again. Seven minutes up, which more than erases the six minute reduction in games realized last year. Stark speaks to Rob Manfred about it, who voices his displeasure and says that MLB will make better efforts to speed things up. Primarily getting on players’ cases.
As Stark notes, the biggest culprit appears to be pitches per game. Which tracks the increase in strikeouts per game. All of which adds to the time and takes away from moments when the ball is in play, which makes things a lot more . . . static. Not sure what Manfred can do about that with memos. That’s about the strike zone and guys who throw 97 all the dang time. And, of course, about how all of those max effort pitches take longer to gear up for, especially from relievers.