Answering casual baseball “fans” biggest complaint — that America’s pasttime moves too slowly, college baseball may have cracked the code. Last summer, NCAA Baseball Rules Committee enacted new rules that limit time between innings and pitches. According to Jeff Sackmann and Kent Bonham, who analyzed games from the first ten days of the 2011 college season, the new rules appear to be working—shaving more than 15 minutes off of the average game time (from 3 hours and 2 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes).
Breaks between innings are capped at 90 seconds, extended to 108 seconds for televised games. Time between pitches may not exceed 20 seconds, except if runners are on base, when there is no limit. The first time a pitcher violates the rule, he is given a warning. For each subsequent violation, an automatic ball is called. When the batting team is not ready after the allotted time, an automatic strike is called. Pace of game is particularly important in college baseball, due to the frequency of doubleheaders and the Sunday evening curfews in many conferences. What’s more, in tournament play, as many as four games per day are scheduled on a single field. The next question will or SHOULD Major League Baseball to adopt the same rules. I’m not so sure, I want my summer days at the ballpark to just zip by. Do we really want baseball games to look like highlight reels on ESPN?