The Frontier League made much noise last spring about its new pace-of-play rules, which included the much-criticized International Tiebreaker rule.
Prior to the season, the league issued a three-page release detailing new rules that were designed to speed-up play and generate shorter game times. The release included sections on the time limit between innings, when the catcher should throw the baseball to second base during the between-innings warmup pitches, how many seconds a pitcher has to deliver a pitch, walkup music, defensive conferences, limiting granting timeouts to batters, making the batter keep one foot in the batter's box and the ITB.
Did these new rules really speed-up games?
The league tracked the average time of all 9-inning games played at each of its ballparks from 2012 through 2014. At Consol Energy Park, the average times were 2:44 in 2014, 2:39 in 2013 and 2:43 back in 2012. The league average for Washington during the three-year period was 2:50.
The average time for all nine-inning games played in Washington this year was just under 2:39. We'll round up to 2:39. That's the same as in 2013 and three seconds under the average for games played at CEP from 2012 to 2014.
Washington did play a game on the road, at Traverse City, late in the season that lasted only 1:54. It was the third-quickest game in Wild Things history.
I will have to see the numbers for the entire league before saying the speed-up rules worked. What I did notice is the base umpire, who was supposed to carry a stopwatch and time the inning breaks, rarely did so during the second half of the season. That's probably because the players and on-field promotions people adjusted quickly to the new rules.
One more note: the Frontier League had a time limit of 2 minutes, 5 seconds for its inning breaks. Because of television, the Major League Baseball playoff games have innings breaks of 3 minutes, 15 seconds. That works out to more than 18 minutes of extra dead time built into a major league playoff game.
And it's the Frontier League that needs to hurry up?