The Long Island Ducks and the Atlantic League are trying to speed things up. And the plan has nothing to do with fastballs.
The independent Atlantic League on Friday ratified six measures designed to speed up the pace of their baseball games. The new rules will go into effect Aug. 1 and continue through the rest of the season.
The approved recommendations made by the league's Pace of Play Committee are:
- Only three mound visits or on-field conferences will be allowed per game. Pitching changes will not be counted toward the total and an additional time-out will be added if the game goes into extra innings.
- When a catcher reaches base, a player not in the lineup will take his place on the basepaths. This eliminates the wait for a catcher to put on his equipment before an inning.
- Warm-up pitches are reduced from eight to six.
- Intentional walks will be automatically awarded without a pitcher having to throw the four pitches. A manager or catcher will now only have to indicate the intentional walk to the home plate umpire.
- Umpires will be encouraged to enforce delivering the ball in a timely manner and to prevent batters from stepping out of the batter's box.
- Umpires will be encouraged to control the pace of play.