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MLB Commissioner Warns Pitch Clock Is Coming

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With free agency largely at a standstill, one of the most reliable sources of baseball-related drama has been the league's ongoing fascination with altering the pace of play.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has reportedly been toying with unilaterally implementing a pitch clock. It appears that won't necessarily be the case. Instead, Manfred has made a proposal to the union that could delay the installation by a year, or perhaps indefinitely:

If Manfred's proposal seems largely empty, it's because that's how it looks from here, too. The average game last season took three hours and eight minutes, per Baseball Reference. The last time it took less than three hours was in 2011 -- and the last time it took less than the stated two hours and 55 minutes was 2006. In other words, the players would have to undo more than a decade of slowing down in order to avoid pitch clocks come 2019.

Framing this as an issue players have to manage is a savvy bit of politicking by Manfred. Sure, some players take too long to get on the rubber or in the box, but advertisements would seem to be the biggest reason why games have dragged on -- that and strategical things, like pitching changes, which the players don't have much say over; the next time a starter compliments his manager for pulling him after the second time through the order will be the first.

We'll see what the union decides to do here. But it does seem like pitch clocks will be coming to the majors sooner than later -- and make no mistake, it'll be Manfred's doing when it happens. 

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