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Atlantic League commissions pace of play committee

Pace of play

The Atlantic League is getting quite serious about its initiative to improve pace of play.  Read all about the new pace of play committee below, via the official release from the Atlantic League.  The hope is the ALPB is able to provide innovations and an example that could improve the pace of the game at the Major League level, but throughout all of professional baseball as well.  The goals of the committee, the members and their resumes are also below.

-Paul Braverman

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced the formation of the Pace of Play (POP) Committee, tasked with reviewing ways to reduce the average time and enliven the pace of baseball games in order to enhance overall fan experience. The Committee will solicit and review ideas from fans, media, and baseball on-field and administrative personnel, in addition to proposals from Committee members. The blue ribbon panel is responsible for recommending actions to the Atlantic League’s Executive Committee. Suggestions will be vetted for their impact on pace of play and length of game, safety of players and on-field personnel, commercial consequences and simplicity, while maintaining the fundamental rules of baseball.

The Pace of Play Committee is chaired by Tal Smith, former President of the Houston Astros and comprised of former MLB executives and players with over 200 years of collective experience in the Major Leagues, including Roland Hemond, Joe Klein, Cecil Cooper, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle. Their suggestions, recommendations and findings will be published on the Atlantic League website ( www.AtlanticLeague.com ) and made available for review by any interested parties.

“The Committee hopes this will be a public forum where those who share an interest in our great game may express their suggestions as to how baseball might pick up the pace,” said Committee Chair Tal Smith. “All ideas from any sources will be objectively reviewed and evaluated for consideration by the Atlantic League and perhaps other leagues, as well. With over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League experience, we are uniquely positioned to be a real-time laboratory to test and implement new concepts.”

The average professional game time in the 1970’s was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas today more than half of all nine-inning games exceed 3 hours. When Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927, the box score reported game time as 1 hour and 38 minutes. Many feel that the growing amount of “down time” during games is a larger concern than the length of the games; hence the Atlantic League has created the Pace of Play Committee.

“Last season, the Atlantic League collected an extensive data base of factors that affect average game time and pace of play. Forming the Pace of Play Committee is a direct result of that effort and will help make our game initiatives sustainable,” said Rick White, ALPB President. “The Atlantic League prides itself on being progressive, and the experience and passion of the Pace of Play Committee will help improve the game of baseball at every level and enhance the overall fan experience.”

Please submit suggestions to the POP Committee on the Atlantic League website, www.AtlanticLeague.com

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) is the highest level of professional baseball other than the Major Leagues. Atlantic League players are experienced professionals, having progressed through the development levels (A, AA, AAA) and are “Major League Ready,” with over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League service time. Since the League’s inception in 1998, over 30 million fans have attended an ALPB game in one of the League’s state of the art ballparks. The League plans to expand from eight to 12 teams, which will join the existing teams in the major metropolitan markets of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston.

ATLANTIC LEAGUE PACE OF PLAY COMMITTEE TALKING POINTS & ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

About the Pace of Play (POP) Committee

  • The Pace of Play (POP) Committee will review ways to reduce the average time and enliven the pace of baseball games
  • The POP Committee is comprised of former MLB executives and players with more than 200 years of collective experience in the Major Leagues!
  • Forming the Pace of Play Committee is a direct result of last year’s Atlantic League pace of play effort, and will help make our game initiatives sustainable
  • The Committee hopes this will be a public forum where anyone can express their suggestions as to how baseball might pick up the pace
  • All ideas from any sources will be objectively reviewed and evaluated for consideration by the Atlantic League (and perhaps other leagues, too)
  • The POP Committee’s first meeting is Monday, June 30 and will meet periodically to review suggestions and determine initiatives to present to the ALPB Executive Committee.
  • To submit a Pace of Play recommendations, visit www.AtlanticLeague.com

POP Committee Objectives

  • Pick up the pace of play and reduce length of games while maintaining the fundamental rules of baseball Improve the game of baseball and enhance the overall fan experience
  • Solicit and review ideas from fans, media, players, umpires and coaches, administrative personnel, in addition to proposals from Committee members.
  • Recommend rules for the Atlantic League’s Executive Committee to implement into game play
  • Vet suggestions for their impact on pace of play and length of game, as well as safety of players and on-field personnel, commercial consequences and simplicity, while maintaining the fundamental rules of baseball.
  • With over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League experience, we are uniquely positioned to be a real-time laboratory to test and implement new concepts.

 Pace of Play Committee Members

  • Tal Smith, Chairman, POP Committee – former MLB executive with 57 years of experience in or with the Majors, primarily with the Houston Astros
  • Joe Klein, Executive Director, Atlantic League –       former MLB general manager of the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, and Detroit Tigers with more than 50 years of experience in professional baseball
  • Cecil Cooper –MLB veteran with the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox; 5x MLB All-Star and 2x Gold Glove winner
  • Bud Harrelson– MLB veteran & New York Mets Hall of Famer; 2x World Series Champion, 2x All-Star and Gold Glover winner; Current owner of the Long Island Ducks, 3x Atlantic League champions
  • Roland Hemond – Three-time MLB “Executive of the Year” and Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement recipient
  • Sparky Lyle– MLB veteran pitcher, 2x World Series Champion, 3x All-Star and Cy Young award winner; former Somerset Patriots manager (1998–2012)

Pace of Play Historical Stats

  • The average professional game time in the 1970s was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas today more than half of all nine-inning games exceed 3 hours.

When Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927, the box score reported game time as 1 hour and 38 minutes.

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