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Since he took over as commissioner, Rob Manfred has made pace of play his biggest focus. He’s tried to implement new rules with the intention of speeding up every game.
On Sunday, San Fransisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt threw a pretty large wrench into those plans. He set the record for the longest at-bat in Major League Baseball’s modern era.
That’s right. Belt dragged out a 21-pitch at-bat against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jaime Barria. That broke the previous record, which was set by Ricky Gutierrez, who turned in a 20-pitch at-bat against Bartolo Colón in 1998.
As you might expect, a 21-pitch at-bat takes a fair amount of time.
Roughly 13 minutes elapsed during Belt’s at-bat. The end of the battle wound up being a little anti-climatic. Belt flew out on pitch No. 21.
Still, the strike zone graphic of all 21 pitches is pretty entertaining.
We should note that even if Manfred implemented all his changes into the game, this type of thing would still be unavoidable. Though some drastic changes have been proposed, none have focused on the length of at-bats. Until Manfred says all at-bats must end after seven pitches, these types of things will happen. They are part of the game.
And while shortened at-bats sounds preposterous, we’re not putting anything past Manfred at this point.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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