MLB wants to get a pitch clock in place for the 2018 season

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As several games dragged on well past the three and four hour mark this postseason, fans active online increasingly chattered about the need for a pitch clock, rules limiting mound visits or some other means of moving things along.

Today at the owners meetings down in Florida, MLB’s Chief Legal Officer, Dan Halem, told members of the press that the league would like to get a get a new pace-of-play agreement with MLBPA done that could include a pitch clock. In order to have something in place for the 2018 season, Halem said, an agreement would have to be reached by early January. Halem also added that other measures — such as reworked inning breaks with split screen broadcast, not unlike we saw during the postseason, could be a part of the pace-of-play measures as well.

Back in August, the players signaled to Major League Baseball, for the first time, that they were willing to work with the league on the implementation of a pitch clock. There are still details that would have to be hammered out — players want input on certain aspects of its implementation, such as whether or not it will run with players on base, for example — but their basic acceptance of the idea seemed to be a corner-turning event.

In the past few years there have been several rules changes negotiated, agreed upon and implemented in between the end of the season and before January, such as changes to the slide rules, changes to plate-blocking rules and the announcement of new guidelines about protective netting. It would not, therefore, be impossible for the league and its players to agree on a pitch clock and have it place for next season.

As for the desirability of a pitch clock: there has been one in the minor leagues for a couple of years now. Based on my experience as a Triple-A fan and the experience of virtually everyone I’ve spoken to, its implementation has been smooth, to the point where it’s hardly noticeable. You can count on one hand the number of times a pitcher has been given an automatic ball for not throwing a pitch within the specified time in the course of a season and, overall, the pace of play seems to have picked up considerably. In any event, it’s far preferable to the seemingly interminable lulls in action between pitches that we saw this past October.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.