FORT MYERS Fla. — Baseball, our timeless national pastime, has a time problem. A rash of rule changes announced last week by Major League Baseball included several intended to keep things moving. The most controversial: Beginning in 2020, relief pitchers must face at least three batters unless the side is retired or an injury occurs. It’s a dramatic attempt to reduce relentless mid-inning pitching changes that crept into the game in recent years. That’s not the main reason games take well over three hours — we’ll get to that in a moment — but it doesn’t help. Too often we’ve seen managers use four relievers to get three outs in the seventh inning with a four-run lead, bringing the proceedings to a halt and sending sleepy moms, dads and their children staggering for the exits. To many of us, pulling a reliever who retired a batter on one or two pitches seemed a waste of manpower. Why take out a guy who’s doing his job? We applaud Commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff for trying to speed things up. This being baseball, opposition has been fierce. Pitchers hate this rule. And whether it actually goes into effect remains to be… Read full this story
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