Managers, players asked to make time

August 04, 1991|By Peter Schmuck

Commissioner Fay Vincent and league presidents Bobby Brown and Bill White have asked managers to help speed things up at major-league baseball games.

Brown sent out a directive to each American League club on July 8, suggesting ways that players, managers and umpires can shave a few minutes off the average time of game.

Managers can save a minute or two if they signal for relief pitchers when they come out of the dugout instead of waiting until they get to the mound. Relievers can save time by jogging in from the bullpen instead of walking.

Where is Kevin Hickey when you need him?

Hitters can save time by staying in the batter's box instead of stepping out after every pitch.

Sam Horn is good for about five minutes a game all by himself.

Pitchers can cut down on the time between pitches and the number of times they walk behind the mound. Umpires can help by keeping the game moving.

"What I was really looking for was the managers to look at it,"

said Brown, who was at the Kingdome for Wednesday's game between the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. "There are times when the managers don't need the extra time making a pitching change. What I didn't want to do was get the umpires involved to the point where there are more arguments over nothing."

Brown said most of the complaints about the ever-expanding time of game come from within the sport, not from the fans.

Perhaps the fans enjoy getting a few more minutes for their money, but getting a final score in time for the 11 o'clock news -- or the first edition of your local newspaper -- is becoming a problem. Brown would like to help, but he needs help from the people on the field.

"The game has changed so much," Brown said. "There are more relief pitchers used, and the hitters have changed. I never saw [Joe] DiMaggio step out of the box between pitches. Most of the hitters stayed in there in my day. Now you see hitters step out between pitches and take two or three practice swings."

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