With a decrease in average game length, major league baseball has officially entered a new era. The smiles were also numerous for the opening of the season, this Thursday afternoon, whether at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.
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Of the first four games of the campaign played in the early afternoon, it was the one won 4-0 by the Cubs against the Brewers in Chicago, which was the shortest: two hours and 21 minutes. In New York, pitcher Gerrit Cole and the Yankees eclipsed the San Francisco Giants 5-0 in two hours and 33 minutes.
Asked if he had felt the impact of the regulation related to the stopwatch between each throw, Cole also did it quickly. His initial response was one word: “No”.
- Jean-François Baril looks back on the Jays’ victory in his sports segment via QUB radio :
Half an hour less
According to the first estimates, this new rule alone allows you to butcher more than 25 minutes on average per game. In total, it’s a good half-hour difference per game, if we compare the average duration of the 2022 regular season matches with that of the recent training camp (see below).
At the other end of the spectrum, the game won 10 to 9 by the Baltimore Orioles against the Red Sox, Thursday afternoon in Boston, could not be completed for three hours and 10 minutes. In this case, starter Corey Kluber allowed the Orioles five earned runs in just three-and-a-third innings… No Boston fan seemed to have found the game too long, however, as the Red Sox unsuccessfully made a comeback in scoring five runs in the last two innings.
time and money
There was a time when Earl Weaver, famous manager of the Orioles in the 1970s and 1980s, explained why baseball was the most beautiful sport by saying, “You can’t sit on a lead and make a few plays to kill time. . You have to get the ball to home plate and give the other man in front of you a chance”.
The famous quote hasn’t become completely wrong, but it’s becoming a bit obsolete with the new rules. The pitcher now has to make every shot, sooner rather than later, and the batter is also in a rush to set up. Welcome to 2023, where time and money rule the world! For better and for worse.
It was Atlanta Braves reliever Collin McHugh who, without much consequence, was caught first for a time violation during his warm-up in Washington. The next batter thus began his presence with a ball on the counter. The Braves eventually won 7-2 against the Nationals.
Change is scary. But we have to admit that baseball is on the way to winning its bet with the introduction of its new regulations. Even purists find that the game becomes more dynamic, without distorting the sport.
The trend now seems to be carrying over to games on the current regular schedule. The beginning of a new era of happiness that will reach a younger audience? Maybe…
Meanwhile, Earl Weaver, who died in 2013, must nevertheless be turning in his grave.
AVERAGE LENGTH OF GAMES
- Training Camp 2022: 3 h 01
- Regular season 2022: 3 h 03
- Training Camp 2023: 2 h 35
- 4 first games of the 2023 season: 2 h 48
- Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field: 2 h 21
A STOPWATCH FOR PITCHERS… AND BATTERS
- 30 seconds are allocated to the different players between the presence at bat of two batters.
- The clock is set at 15 seconds between each pitch to the batter. The duration increases to 20 seconds when there are one or more runners on the trails.
- The batter must be in the box and be alert for the next shot with at least eight seconds left on the clock.
- When a pitcher is unable to get the ball out in the required time, a ball is awarded to the batter.
- If a batter is not ready, he is automatically awarded a strike. Each batter may call a timeout only once per time at bat.
Can’t wait for the stolen bases… and already a home run for Judge!
Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves wasted no time in exploiting some of the changes happening in major league baseball this season. He stole second base after hitting a leadoff single in the game against the Nationals on Thursday afternoon in Washington.
If the timer present between the pitches is especially talked about, the increase in the size of the goals is likely to increase the number of thefts in major league baseball.
Acuna Jr. couldn’t cross the plate in the opening inning, but he contributed to a three-run effort for the Braves in the next turn at bat. The Atlanta squad was on their way to a 7-2 win.
In New York, Aaron Judge hit a solo homer on his first at bat to give the Yankees the lead, who eventually won 5-0 against the San Francisco Giants. Having hit 62 long balls last season, Judge was the first to achieve such a feat in the 2023 season.
Then it was rookie Anthony Volpe who thrilled the 46,172 fans gathered at Yankee Stadium late in the third inning with a stolen base. He was later imitated by Gleyber Torres, also a circuit author.
Launchers in control
In six innings of work, starter Gerrit Cole shut out the Giants, making 11 strikeouts. This is a new record for a Yankees pitcher in a season opener.
The old mark was nine and was set by Tim Leary in 1991. Obviously Cole wasn’t bothered by having to make his shots quickly. On the contrary. Rather, it was the hitters who bit the dust.
Despite the setback, Giants pitcher Logan Webb struck out 12 times, also in six innings.
♦ In the late afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays started their season by visiting the Cardinals in St. Louis. Jays starter Alek Manoah was roughed up having allowed five earned runs in three and a third innings of work, but the Jays won 10-9, thanks in part to three RBIs from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and contributions of five and a half. four hits from George Springer and Bo Bichette.
what they said
“I was skeptical, but it hit me quickly: this is exactly what baseball needs”
– Raul Ibanez, former MLB player and senior ent, on the introduction of the clock between pitches
“It wasn’t the pitchers who bothered me in the last few years, it was the hitters, who adjusted their helmets, their little gloves and their bionic elbow protector between pitches”
– Claude Raymond, former pitcher and baseball legend in Quebec
“I think it’s going to be a relatively easy adjustment for the pitchers and it’s going to give some rhythm to the games”
– Karl Gélinas, former pitcher and analyst at the TVA Sports network
“I’m going to watch a lot more baseball this year”
– Ron Guidry, former pitcher and Cy Young Trophy winner with the Yankees in 1978
“There are pitchers who like to take their time and conserve their energy. I think the rule will especially disadvantage pitchers, who will burn out more quickly.
– Abraham Toro, Quebec player in the Brewers organization