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Baseball fans take notice of “pace of play” rule changes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Fans eager for a day at the ballpark might notice the game is a little bit shorter than before.

Major League Baseball has introduced new rules to speed up the pace of play. And the changes trickled down to the minor league level, meaning the Indianapolis Indians will have to act quicker.

Baseball has taken some hits when it comes to the length of games.

Fans and analysts alike have complained that pitchers and batters take too long to get ready. Inning breaks have gotten longer as more commercials were added for the television audience. So in an effort to keep the game moving – a few new rules were added.

And there’s one in particular that’s only being tested at the minor league level right now – that fans here at Victory Field clearly noticed.

The sights and the sounds were in full effect at Victory Field. On the second night of the Indiana’s opening series, it’s clear America’s Pastime is in full swing.

But with this new season comes a new set of rules.

“They got some new clocks by home plate and in center field,” fan Bob Kemp pointed out.

Baseball installed digital timers around the field.

They keep track of the time between half innings, which was shortened by a few seconds to make players get in position sooner. The total time is 2:25.

But the biggest change, that only minor league fans will get to see, has to do with the pitchers.

They now have only 20 seconds to get set before throwing the ball to home plate.

“So far I’ve only seen one (time) the pitcher take longer than 20 seconds,” one fan said.

“I’ve seen two (times),” said the man next to him.

And the batters better be ready, too. After most pitches, they have to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box.

“It looks like the batters are getting in there within the 20 seconds, it’s more the pitchers causing the issue,” a fan said.

People in the stands could clearly see the difference. But new rules aside, time already seems to fly when you’re having fun.

“I just enjoy the game of baseball, all nine innings,” said John Balazentis of Noblesville. “I don’t think I’ll notice it as a casual fan.”

Although these rules are in place, they are being loosely enforced right now.

Starting May 1, if pitchers break those rules the batter will be awarded a ball.

If the batter breaks them, he’s gets a strike. To read about the new rules in full detail, click here!