Durham, N.C. — With the 2018 season at its halfway point, the average nine-inning Can-Am League game this season has taken 2 hours, 47 minutes, down 21 minutes from last season’s average of 3 hours, 8 minutes.
Over the last few seasons, the league has taken a number of initiatives to reduce game time, including implementing the international tiebreaker rule, in which a runner begins the 11th inning on second base. All affiliated minor leagues put into place a similar rule starting this season.
Much of 2018’s reduction in nine-inning game time can be attributed to the league’s new pace of play rules, which include:
– Mound visits limited to 30 seconds.
– One catcher’s visit to the mound per inning, per pitcher.
– A pitcher must deliver a pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the ball. Failure to comply results in an automatic ball.
– Between innings, the team taking the field has 90 seconds to warm up once the last fielder crosses the foul line closest to their team’s dugout.
– New pitchers allowed two minutes to warm up.
– A batter must enter the batter’s box within 15 seconds of the prior batter’s completed at-bat. If he does not, a strike is added to the count.
– A batter may not step out of the batter’s box once the at-bat has begun (Official Baseball Rule 5.04 (4)(A)). The batter must keep one foot in the batter’s box at all times. Failure to comply results in an automatic strike.
– If a manager wants to intentionally walk a batter, he signals to the plate umpire.