Rob Manfred took over as MLB commissioner just under a month ago, officially. Since then, talk around baseball has been how he would like to speed up the game to prevent them from consistently running over three hours long on average.
The league already announced they would be testing pitch clocks in the minor leagues, which probably won't do much to change anything. Now, they've announced a few changes at the major league level to help speed up the pace of the game:
MLB & MLBPA announce additions to the pace of game program, effective this season. Details: pic.twitter.com/qr0KBcPLA9— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) February 20, 2015
Now, I should say that I'm not really opposed to any of these changes. Mostly because, honestly, they don't exactly seem to be a big deal. I don't know what the average time pitchers take to warm up is, but I can't imagine this will cut more than a few minutes at best from the speed of games.
I get that this is a first step and that eventually the goal is to figure out a way to make bigger changes to make the game go faster or at least accumulate enough little things to speed things up. Or maybe it's more the perception: If things happen in a more rapid sequence, it will seem quicker even if the actual time commitment is actually the same.
At the same time, the players don't seem particularly keen on the changes so far. It makes sense -- different guys have different routines that they feel comfortable in. Having to go quicker or do something outside of that can mess with their hitting or, at least, the mental aspect of their hitting. But it will also probably be a change they can adjust to fairly quickly.
In the end, it's changes for the sake of them. MLB can say they did something to speed up a slow sport which should satiate those looking for that for a bit. Players will adjust quickly to very minor changes. A couple fines might be handed out as a show that baseball is super serious. And barely anything actual will change. Maybe eventually they will. Not with these new rules, though.