By:  Kurt SnyderKurt Bio Picture

What happened to the game of baseball that made it less exciting?  Is pace of play responsible for less excitement and for games being too long?

Will pace of play changes drive more interest and more excitement?

Is Rob Manfred on the right track with some of his ideas?

Are you ready for some answers? How about one explanation that addresses all of the above?

I believe being the Commissioner of Baseball is one of the toughest commish jobs in all of sports; except for maybe hockey.  Trying to appease today’s young fan with a game that oozes strategy and subtle game-within-the-game activity is almost a hopeless cause.  Because without constant movement and action, you lose them to the bar and the food court.

I want to like Rob Manfred. I really do! And the ideas he is considering in his continued pursuit to improve pace of play are admirable.

The strike zone? Yep, they have to do something. If nothing else, we need a zone that makes it easier for umpires to call low strikes. Because never, EVER, have I seen such horrific calling of balls and strikes than in 2016. Just absolutely mind-boggling.  Pitches below the knees were continually called strikes and so many not only low, but off the plate. So I agree with raising the strike zone.

Check the box.

Intentional walks? Yeah, so few mistakes are made during that whole process; not a lot of intrigue and as little time that it takes, it’s a good non-game effecting opportunity to gain more flow. In the interests of well, interest, who cares enough to continue this? Put 4 fingers in the air and let’s move on.

Check the box.

But what can have the biggest impact?  What are we missing? I think we are missing an issue that affects pace of play more than anything else in today’s game.  Sorry, but its instant replay. Let’s review that …….. yep, confirmed … instant replay.

Let’s separate ourselves from the rest of sports. Drop this instant replay madness. You want to slow up a baseball game?  Go ahead, review it! You want today’s fan to lose interest, as the ump tries to figure out if the catcher blocked the plate or not.  Go ahead, review it!

And outside of game action, what do fans love the most? A good nose-to- nose argument between a manager and an umpire. Fans love it, and even those meaningless yet entertaining episodes have been muted by instant replay.

Sure there have been times when it has made a big difference in getting a call right in an important game. But this is something that just interferes with what the Commish is trying to improve – pace.

This is a radical solution. Guilty as charged. But I haven’t seen one solution yet that will drastically move games along. And abolishing instant replay would do it in dramatic fashion. Decisions take too long. Managers review plays sometimes in a “what do I have to lose” fashion. Out come the headphones and out of the balloon goes the air.

Heck, I have destroyed pace of play in baseball just by discussing it this long!

Enough already! I am still bitter over what has been taken away from the game. Forget pace! What about excitement and aggression?

Baseball has gone to a place from which they can never return. The day catchers could no longer block the plate was a sad day for baseball.  The day runners could no longer take somebody out at second base was a sad day for baseball.

Fear of injury took fierce competitiveness out of the game. You take those plays out of baseball and you begin taking the heart out of the game. Those are mistakes that can never be undone.

Our game has been spayed and neutered. What’s done is done.  And pinning all of our hopes on initiatives to speed things up and give the game more flow will never repair the damage already inflicted on our great game.

If anything, let’s slow down. Ramifications need to be studied long and hard before we take more starch out of a game that used to be a whole lot better.

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  1. If you want to speed up the game, keep the batter in the box. Put a time clock on the pitchers. Reduce the number of pitching changes in an inning. Stop all the trips to the mound by players. Then worry about the strike zone.


  2. Get it right and keep ’em safe. I can certainly tolerate the few minutes that these cost. What about pitchers stalling on the mound, and batters incessantly stepping out of the batter’s box? Penalize these snoozers and the game will speed up and become more enjoyable for the youngsters!.


  3. Very true replay slows the game down, but in today’s game there is too much business to get so many wrong calls, excitement is gone and the owner’s money is on the field. How many IBBs? How much time does that take away? None, but it does affect the strategy of the game. Keep it as it is.


  4. Yes Kurt your so right. Spayed and neutered says it best. Along with all of bug Selig’s changes after the strike. Especially looking the other way on strength and conditioning. He said he wanted more offense. To me most of his changes were offensively on steroids.


  5. Nothing would improve the pace of play more than making the pitcher actually THROW the darn ball, and prevent every batter from unfastening and refastening their batting gloves after every pitch. They spend entirely too much time playing mind games. Hit ball! It’s baseball, not psych class. PLAY BALL.


    • gotta agree on that one ! Also, waiting for then watching the replay from dugout before “throwing the flag”. That’s BS …. make that call to review NOW ….


  6. Kurt, regarding the horrific state of balls & strikes, why not use technology to solve that problem? It would be easy to use laser scanning to determine if the ball crossed the plate within the confines that the commissioner instituted. Gone would be the days of subjective (& dreadful) calls by knucklehead umps.


    • Ray – the subject didn’t make the cutting room floor for this blog, but I thought about it. There is something to be said for the technology they use in tennis. There is an application there that could be used in baseball if they get desperate. Thanks for the comments. Kurt


      • IR is here to stay, it will continually be tweaked but it is NEVER going away so why even present it as an option? The only thing that is going to change the pace of play issue is to change the pace of play. Get the pitcher on the mound, the batter in the box and the umpire off the screen. They ARE the pace of play.


  7. Baseball has gotten nothing back from the changes made regarding second base and home plate. The high strikes need to be called. Clocks have no place in baseball. The swinging door of relief pitchers has slowed the game down more than anything.


  8. A blown call by the ump is like a bad hop single or a wind-blown home run–random luck. I would prefer living with a bad call to watching the umps stand around with headphones for minutes at a time. At the very least, limit each manager to one challenge a game. Oh, and get rid of the interminable performances of “God Bless America” in the seventh inning in so many parks.


  9. 2016 MLB INCREASED 3 1/2 min. last season. Nothing is more responsible than the REPLAYS. Between getting things right and frequency of umpire error, cements replay as part of the game. But let’s put a 3 min time cap on the process and move on. NOTHING has changed modern baseball more other than PED’s.


  10. Good post Kurt -Start laser trial for strikes & balls.The 4 finger sign for intentional walks should have happened yesterday.This will never happen but all stadiums need retractable roofs to stop needless rain delays & playing in frigid cold.God Bless America stays forever!!!


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