Major League Baseball announced Friday that it will institute a number of new rules in an attempt to make the sport less mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly slow.
The rules, which will be applied in the upcoming 2015 season, include common sense ideas like, you know, batters keeping a foot in the batter’s box while they’re batting (though there are exceptions!) and the two professional baseball teams playing professional baseball in a timely manner when the broadcast comes back from a commercial break. (This is not a joke.)
There were a number of other potential time-saving rules -- like a limit to the number of those boring pitcher-catcher-manager meetings on the mound, or a 20-second clock between pitches -- that actually sounded pretty cool. But the MLB decided that was quite enough for now, thank you very much.
The new rules come after the creation of a league-appointed Pace of Game Committee (actual name), which was established last year because even the damn commissioner of the league is like, “God, is this game over yet!? It’s like, 1 a.m.!”
The real reason the MLB felt it necessary to impose these rules is because baseball knows it needs to speed up in order to convince any of our Snapchatting children to pay attention for one goddamned second. But can you blame them? Some statistics:
- The average baseball game took 2 hours and 33 minutes in 1981. By last year, that number had jumped to 3 hours, 2 minutes.
- Back in the Mickey Mantle glory days of 1964, the baseball was put in play one way or another every two minutes and 29 seconds. By 2014, that number had jumped to three minutes and 30 seconds.
- Of the four major American sports leagues -- NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB -- baseball now has the oldest fans by far. Thankfully for the defenders of baseball, golf exists -- a sport with even older fans somehow.
- The number of kids playing baseball has dropped off a cliff since the turn of the century -- by 24 percent between 2000 and 2009, then by another another 18 percent between 2009 and 2012.
- Young people aren’t becoming baseball fans as they enter old age either. In fact, as Bloomberg noted last year: “Every year [for the past five seasons], the [MLB’s] median viewing age gets one year older. It’s a trend line that ends in a graveyard.”
So yeah, you can understand why the league feels it needs to make some changes.