This is long overdue. Too bad it only affects Atlantic League games, but it’s a start.
These are the five measures the Atlantic League is implementing to speed up the game:
• Teams will be limited to three defensive timeouts a game for visits to the mound or conferences on the field. The timeouts are to last 45 seconds, and a ball will be called against a team that delays the resumption of play.
• The number of warm-up pitches at the start of an inning, or when a reliever enters the game, will be reduced to six from eight, and will last no longer than 60 seconds. Limiting time between half-innings to 90 seconds could trim 10 minutes off an average game.
• A manager will signal to an umpire if he wants a batter intentionally walked, and the umpire will award the batter first base without four pitches being thrown.
• Umpires will restrict batters stepping out of the box between pitches and give pitchers 12 seconds between deliveries, if the bases are empty.
• Umpires are being reminded this week that they should adhere to the entire strike zone, which is defined as "that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The strike zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball."