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The Pace of Play (POP) Committee

Camden RiversharksCamden Riversharks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Veteran Baseball Execs and Players Including Tal Smith, Roland Hemond, Cecil Cooper, Joe Klein, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle to Address Game Length and Pace 

Denver, CO – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced the formation of the Pace of Play (POP) Committee, tasked with reviewing ways to reduce the average time and enliven the pace of baseball games in order to enhance overall fan experience. The Committee will solicit and review ideas from fans, media, and baseball on-field and administrative personnel, in addition to proposals from Committee members. The blue ribbon panel is responsible for recommending actions to the Atlantic League’s Executive Committee.Suggestions will be

vetted for their impact on pace of play and length of game, safety of players and on-field personnel, commercial consequences and simplicity, while maintaining the fundamental rules of baseball.   

The Pace of Play Committee is chaired by Tal Smith, former President of the Houston Astros and comprised of former MLB executives and players with over 200 years of collective experience in the Major Leagues, including Roland Hemond, Joe Klein, Cecil Cooper, Bud Harrelson and Sparky Lyle. Their suggestions, recommendations and findings will be published on the Atlantic League website ( ) and made available for review by any interested parties.   

“The Committee hopes this will be a public forum where those who share an interest in our great game may express their suggestions as to how baseball might pick up the pace,” said Committee Chair Tal Smith. “All ideas from any sources will be objectively reviewed and evaluated for consideration by the Atlantic League and perhaps other leagues, as well. With over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League experience, we are uniquely positioned to be a real-time laboratory to test and implement new concepts.” 

The average professional game time in the 1970’s was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas today more than half of all nine-inning games exceed 3 hours. When Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927, the box score reported game time as 1 hour and 38 minutes. Many feel that the growing amount of “down time” during games is a larger concern than the length of the games; hence the Atlantic League has created the Pace of Play Committee. 

“Last season, the Atlantic League collected an extensive data base of factors that affect average game time and pace of play. Forming the Pace of Play Committee is a direct result of that effort and will help make our game initiatives sustainable,” said Rick White, ALPB President. “The Atlantic League prides itself on being progressive, and the experience and passion of the Pace of Play Committee will help improve the game of baseball at every level and enhance the overall fan experience.” 

Please submit suggestions to the POP Committee on the Atlantic League website,  

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball   The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) is the highest level of professional baseball other than the Major Leagues. Atlantic League players are experienced professionals, having progressed through the development levels (A, AA, AAA) and are “Major League Ready,” with over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League service time. Since the League’s inception in 1998, over 30 million fans have attended an ALPB game in one of the League’s state of the art ballparks. The League plans to expand from eight to twelve teams, which will join the existing teams in the major metropolitan markets of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston. --- 

About the Camden Riversharks: The Camden Riversharks are entering their 14th season in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Since the team’s inception in 2001, the Riversharks have called Campbell’s Field home, located on the Camden Waterfront.  With sightlines that include the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline, the views from Campbell’s Field are like few others in professional baseball.  The team provides a competitive baseball product, while maintaining an affordable family friendly atmosphere.

The Riversharks play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League, considered the highest level of Minor League Baseball. Atlantic League players are "Major League Ready" and in the last 16 years, over 600 players have graduated from Atlantic League clubs to Major League organizations, making the League a preferred route for experienced players to be scouted by Major League Baseball.