In an effort to get the average time of games down under three hours, NPB has decided to introduce a new rule requiring pitchers to deliver each pitch within 15 seconds. This is part of NPB's Green Baseball Project, in which the league is trying to do it's part for the environment by cutting down on energy expenditures associated with playing games. A noble goal with a laughable logo.
This rule change hasn't gone over well with the players:
Nippon Ham ace Yu Darvish: "That's not baseball".
2008 Sawamura Award winner Hisashi Iwakuma: "Darvish is correct. Even now our time is pressed. If the time is going to be compressed, they should be thorough and widen the strike zone. This is how we make our living".
Rakuten manager Katsuya Nomura: "to have a rule for that is nonsense. Baseball has always been a sport without a time limit. The fans pay a lot of money to come to the ballpark, so we should be in the park as much as possible".
Darvish again: "I'm not going to take any kind of action. I'll ignore it."
Commissioner Ryozo Kato: "you're pros so get used to it".
Kyuji Fujikawa was the first take a hit from the new rule, taking three balls in his first spring training practice game appearance. Gotta take the players' side on this one. I hope this rule doesn't make it out of spring training.