The pace-of-play initiatives recently instituted by the Atlantic League seem to be working.
At least that's what the numbers indicate.
The independent baseball league on Thursday released results from the first 30 days of play since the implementation of its new rules, which were effective Aug. 1. The York Revolution is a member of the Atlantic League.
According to the league, initial results showed a nine-minute reduction in the time of games per nine innings, a substantial increase in the percentage of 8 1/2- and nine-inning games played in 2 hours 30 minutes or less, and similarly, a reduction in the percentage of 8 1/2- and nine-inning games lasting 3 hours or more.
"The game times throughout baseball tend to increase during the second half of the season. This is due to more hot weather, player fatigue with the long season and the intensity of certain games at this stage of the season as the pennant races heat up," said Pace of Play (POP) Committee Chair Tal Smith. "Now that we are into September and the final three weeks of the Atlantic League season, the appropriate measure is to compare time of game for the initiatives implemented on August 1, with the final results for the 2013 season."
Three key measures reviewed over the last 30 days of Atlantic League play include:
The time of games, from Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, 2014, was 2:53, compared to 3:02 from the same time period in 2013.
The percentage of 8 1/2- or nine-inning games played in 2:30 or less was 22 percent from Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, 2014, compared to 8 percent from the same time frame in 2013.
The percentage of 8 1/2- or nine-inning games played in three hours or more from Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, 2014, was 26 percent, compared to 42 percent from the same time period in 2013.
The POP Committee is chaired by Smith, former president of the Houston Astros and comprised of former Major League Baseball executives and players with more than 250 years of collective experience in the majors, including Pat Gillick, Roland Hemond, Joe Klein, Cecil Cooper, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle.
The committee was established earlier this season and immediately reviewed ideas and suggestions from various sources. Five measures were recommended and adopted by the Atlantic League for implementation effective Aug. 1. The five measures include: limited timeouts, reduced number of warm-up pitches, automatic awarding of an intentional walk, umpire enforcement of Rule 6.02 (restricting batters "stepping out" of the batter's box) and Rule 8.04 (requiring the pitcher to deliver the ball within 12 seconds when the bases are unoccupied) and directing umpires to control the pace of play.
In coming weeks, the POP Committee will review 2014 trial results with the Atlantic League Board of Directors. At that time, the board will consider adoption of the initiatives as full-time rules, or select some for possible consideration in the future. It is anticipated the POP Committee will also introduce additional initiatives for potential trials in the 2015 Atlantic League season.