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Atlantic League Pace of Play initiatives praised by Tom Verducci

Tom Verducci

The Atlantic League’s new Pace of Play Committee and its initiatives to speed up play have gotten plenty of ink both in league markets and nationally.  The most ringing endorsement from national media has come from Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated and MLB Network, which is nice for the league considering he is also the most high-profile baseball journalist to weigh in on the topic.  Verducci hasn’t been shy before with his opinion that Major League Baseball needs to speed up its games, making his praise of the ALPB not surprising.

Check out the entire column here: http://www.si.com/mlb/2014/08/05/atlantic-league-pace-of-play-mlb

The Atlantic League was able to reduce games to a 2:51 average over the weekend (13 games) after enforcement began.  It’s average for the season leading up to last weekend was 2:59.  As the new pace of play rules continue to be enforced (which Verducci outlines in his piece if you are unfamiliar), we’ll see shortly if the rules are having a significant impact over a larger sample size.

Some of Verducci’s data on how much time has been added to MLB games in just the last few seasons is a bit stunning; especially the increased number of three and a half hour (or more) games.  Needless to say, the current average of 3:08 for MLB games this season isn’t the most fan friendly and can likely be improved upon by instituting some or all of the Atlantic League ideas.  The notion of TV holding up the game is a red herring – no more time is taken between innings in the Major Leagues than in the Atlantic League.

With 30 to 40 percent of Atlantic League players at a given time already with MLB playing experience, the league should be the perfect testing ground for speed-up-the-game initiatives.  Hopefully the eventual successor to Bud Selig takes notice that the ALPB is at least trying to improve the fan experience.  While some of the rules may not be a hit with players and some managers, progress is never made without ruffling at least a few feathers.

-Paul Braverman

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