Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Atlantic League Rules To Speed Up Games

New Atlantic League Rules To Speed Up Games

by Tom Stryjewski, Contributing Blogger

Hey Duck fans, we all know how long and drawn out Atlantic League games are. Getting a game in under 3 hours is a rarity. Most of the time you would get home from a night game just in time for the 11 o'clock news to begin. This season the league will be taking measures to decrease the long length of its games. These measures include limiting visits to the mound by coaches and players, enforcing time limitations on: in between innings activities, the amount of time a pitcher takes to throw a pitch and the time a batter has to step in the box. They also want the umpires to enforce the "high strike" rule to further help speed the game along.

Umpiring in the Atlantic League has also been a sore subject for many years. There has never been any consistency between the different umpiring crews and even among the same crew. This season there has been a large turnover in the umpires in the league. A majority of the veteran umpires from past seasons will not be in the league. Crew chief Mark Facto is out and Atlantic League Executive Director Joe Klein will now supervise the umpires.

What will be interesting to see will be the inventive ways the teams will use to circumvent the new system. Will we see phantom injuries (like you see in professional soccer) occur in the field that will bring out the trainer to slow the game down or enable the manager not to be charged a time to the mound visit? Will the catcher opt to go talk to the third baseman instead of the pitcher to relay infield plays or assignments that the manager wants? When the catcher goes out in front of home plate to relay infield signs, how far will he be allowed to walk before the umpire decides it is counted as a trip to the mound? Will there be a 12 second clock on the scoreboard for the umpire and players to see? Will we have to rely on Tim and the rest of the Duck fans to count down the time when the opposing team is on the mound? Will the players be retying their shoes in the infield more often to slow down momentum of the other team?

There are bound to be a lot of bumps along the road with this new system but hopefully it will reach it's desired goal of bringing the game length to a respectable time, one that will keep all the fans in their seats until the end of the game.

Below are some articles by Jim Seip of the York Daily Record and John Walk of the York Dispatch detailing the plans of the league to speed up the game.

Atlantic League Hopes To Speed Up Games - By Jim Seip
Atlantic League Tries To Speed Up Games -By John Walk

Tom Stryjewski has been season ticket holder of the Ducks since 2000. He is a regular contributor to the Long Island Ducks group "LongIslandDucksQuackPack."


  1. Try this on for size. The Atlantic League this year will break away from the traditional umpiring staff to use "local" umpires. We will have to wait and see how this will turn out.