ORLANDO, Fla. — Major League Baseball is intent on shortening games next season.
The average time of a nine-inning game was a record 3 hours, 5 minutes this season, up from 2:56 in 2015. The postseason average was 3:29.
Many owners and general managers want to cut down trips to the mound by catchers, whether the reason is changing signs, talking about pitch selection or giving a pitcher a breather during long plate appearances.
Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro says “it’s not just listening to our current fans, it’s thinking about our future fans and the landscape we’re competing on.”
MLB proposed three changes last offseason that the players’ union didn’t accept, and management can start them next year without player approval: restricting catchers to one trip to the mound per pitcher each inning, employing a 20-second pitch clock and raising the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level — at the top of the kneecap.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred prefers reaching an agreement with the union.
Hall of Famer Doerr dies
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Bobby Doerr, the Hall of Fame second baseman dubbed the “Silent Captain” of the Boston Red Sox by longtime teammate and friend Ted Williams, has died. He was 99.
Doerr died on Monday in Junction City, Oregon, the Red Sox said Tuesday in a statement. The Red Sox said Doerr had been the oldest living major-league player.
“Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in the statement.
“And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and personality outshined it all. He will be missed.”
Signed out of the old Pacific Coast League on the same scouting trip that brought Williams to Fenway Park, Doerr played 14 seasons with the Red Sox and joined his fishing buddy in the Hall of Fame in 1986. He had a .288 lifetime average and helped the Red Sox to the 1946 World Series.
Doerr’s modesty was belied by his stats: He finished with 2,042 hits, 223 home runs and 1,247 RBIs, and he once went 414 games without an error — a record at the time. His six seasons with at least 100 RBIs was not matched by another second baseman for 25 years.
Doerr was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 by the Veterans Committee, and the Red Sox retired his No. 1 jersey in 1988. The Red Sox honored Doerr with a 2004 World Series ring after breaking their 86-year championship drought.