NEW YORK – The players' association rejected the Major League Baseball proposal to institute 20-second clocks and limits on visits to the mound, a move that challenges the administration to unilaterally impose changes designed to accelerate the pace of the games.
Union chief Tony Clark and deputy general counsel Matt Nussbaum informed MLB of the decision on Thursday during a telephone call to Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statement was authorized.
Management has the right to implement the rule changes that it proposed last year. Under the baseball employment contract, management can change the rules in the field with a season of prior notice.
MLB does not intend to make any decisions before its next owner meetings, scheduled for January 30 to February 1 in Beverly Hills, California. The spring training games begin on February 23 and the season begins on March 29.
Except for a change in the negotiations, it appears that MLB will add a 20 second release clock and a restriction on visits to the mont catcher in 2018 without the union will sign, a source told ESPN.
The union's decision was first reported by Fox.
Nine-entry games averaged a record of 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season of 2017 and 3:29 during the postseason, and the length of the games has worried owners and club executives at a time when they compete for consumers with more entertainment options and shorter attention spans. 19659002] The players and the MLB have negotiated the issue since last summer, and the union told MLB on Thursday that there was no consensus among its members for pace changes. After a meeting of owners in November, Commissioner Rob Manfred promised a change.
"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can not reach an agreement, we will have rule changes by 2018 one way or another," he said then.
Under the proposal that MLB can implement, there would be a 30-second clock between batters and a 20-second clock between pitches, according to details obtained by the AP.
A batter would be required to be in the batter's box with at least 5 seconds remaining on the timer. The clock would start when the pitcher has the ball on the mound, except for the first throw of a turn at bat, when it would begin at the end of the previous play.
The clock would restart when a pitcher gets out of the game. rubber and when it makes or feints a pickoff throw.
A referee would issue a warning to a pitcher or batter for a first violation in each game, and subsequent violations by the same player would result in a ball throw against a pitcher and a hit against a batter.
According to the proposed limit for visits to the mound, a team would be allowed one visit per pitcher in each inning, either by a manager, coach or player. A second visit would result in the team being forced to change pitchers.
During the negotiation, MLB offered to start the launch this year alone without runners on the base and delay its use with runners until 2019, the person said.  Clark did not respond to an email seeking comment.