In June 2014, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball formed the Pace of Play (POP) Committee, tasked with reviewing ways to reduce the average time and enliven the pace of baseball games in order to enhance overall fan experience. During the 2013 season, the Atlantic League collected an extensive data base of factors that affect average game time and pace of play. Forming the Pace of Play Committee was a direct result of that effort and will help make our game initiatives sustainable.
The average professional game time in the 1970's was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas today more than half of all nine-inning games exceed 3 hours. When Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927, the box score reported game time as 1 hour and 38 minutes. Many feel that the growing amount of "down time" during games is a larger concern than the length of the games.
The Pace of Play Committee is chaired by Tal Smith, former President of the Houston Astros and comprised of former MLB executives and players with over 200 years of collective experience in the Major Leagues, including Pat Gillick, Roland Hemond, Joe Klein, Cecil Cooper, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle.
The Committee solicits and reviews ideas from fans, media, and baseball on-field and administrative personnel, in addition to proposals from Committee members. This blue ribbon panel is responsible for recommending actions to the Atlantic League's Executive Committee. Suggestions are then vetted for their impact on pace of play and length of game, safety of players and on-field personnel, commercial consequences and simplicity, while maintaining the fundamental rules of baseball.
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