ISTM that the best/easiest way to speed up the game without fundamentally changing it via rules is to change the speed of pitching changes vs changing the number of allowed changes. But the latter is very much on the table (apparently going into effect in 2020) but I’ve never even seen discussion of the former.
I would think you could change the rules such that a pitcher would need to do any and all warmups in the BP before entering. Further, that instead of the manager trudging out to the mound, discussing all sorts of important things with the pitcher and catcher and possibly interested infielders, then having the umpire come out to break it up, then having the relief pitcher come in from the bullpen to warm up, you could have substitutions done as they are in other sports. Manager notifies players and umpires, new pitcher comes in and immediately begins pitching, done in 15 seconds.
Why is this not being done or even - AFAICT - being discussed?
The 2nd already happens. Unless it’s a case of injury, a manager making a pitching change must indicate so on the way to the mound. As for the first, I’m pretty sure it is just to give a feel for that specific pitching mound under the specific game conditions in effect at that time. Plus, stations love advertising time.
And in the bullpen you’re not throwing to the onfield catcher. The battery needs to get in sync.
Once a relief pitcher goes through his routine up to the point of throwing full speed pitches the clock is running. It’s hard to hold that level of prep and be ready to go at a moments notice. If you have to choose between a lefty and a righty you might want to wait until the last minute to have the reliever go full speed and get ready to come into the game. So the final few pitches, at least, need to happen right before he throws to the first batter.
With the new rule that a pitcher has to face at least 3 batters I think you’ll see a lot more relief pitchers start the inning rather than get called in between batters.
In truth, there aren’t a lot of REALLY compelling reasons.
Yes, the mound can be a little bit different, but in a major league park it will not be different enough to matter.
Yes, the pitcher and catcher should get in sync, but why’s that an important thing for the rules to allow? It takes a few real pitches to get in sync? Oh well. Them’s da breaks. He’s a professional catcher, he should know how to catch.
The sun and lights are unquestionably going to be different, but, again, so what? They’re major leaguers, deal with it.
Isn’t there already a limit to the number of onfield warmup pitches a reliefer is allowed?
Banning the manager mound visit would save more time and make more sense. If Bill Bielichick wants to sub for Tom Brady, he doesn’t walk onto the field and discuss it with him, and we can all be glad for that.