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Evan Longoria considers speeding up games a tricky issue

January 19, 2018

San Francisco Giants' Evan Longoria smiles during an introductory press conference Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Evan Longoria just can’t envision it: a reliever riding in from the bullpen on a cart to speed up games.

Sounds utterly far-fetched for America’s tried-and-true pastime in the 21st century, right?

Yet that was one idea players had, along with cutting down on the time between innings by running split-screen commercials.

Longoria, acquired by San Francisco in a trade from Tampa Bay last month, has no interest in turning from his new third base spot at AT&T Park to watch a pitcher make way to the mound by cart from the bullpen behind his base.

“Let the guy run out,” Longoria said Friday.

On Thursday, the players’ association rejected Major League Baseball’s pace-of-game proposal.

MLB can implement its proposal from last offseason to install 20-second pitch clocks and limit mound trips by a manager, coach or player to one per pitcher in an inning before a mandatory pitching change.

“That’s why it’s so tough to address, we want to keep the game looking the same because we enjoy playing it the way that it’s played,” Longoria said. “I think that on the flip side Major League Baseball is trying to find that common ground where you don’t really affect the viewership and the fan base but you also find a way to move the game along. It’s a tough spot.”

Players and MLB have bargained over the matter since last summer, and the union told MLB on Thursday there was no consensus among its members for pace alterations.

Baseball has become quite a long night — or day.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the 2017 regular season and 3:29 during the postseason. The length of games has concerned club owners and executives.

“In my opinion the truth of it is the game is taking longer now because the players are better and there’s more of a need for specialization, there’s more of a need for more time because it’s tough to think that fast,” Longoria said. “The game moves fast, although the games take long there’s a lot of different situations that present themselves throughout the course of the game that take a little bit longer then back in 1930 when the same pitcher pitched 150 pitches and it didn’t matter the situation.”

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