While Major League Baseball is one of the most popular team sports in North America, their games are the longest to watch.
Whether you choose to attend the game or watch on TV, you’re committing over 2.5 hours of your time, on average.
That is an extra 15-30 minutes more compared to basketball, hockey or football games.
In 2018, the MLB decided to address the game-length issue as it was really getting out of hand.
As a result, the league implemented a series of pace-of-play initiatives made up of time limits between innings, a timer to regulate the length of pitcher warm-up periods and the MVR rule.
And in 2023, the league will also be using a pitching clock between pitches and batters.
But let’s focus on the question you came here for…
What does MVR mean in Baseball?
MVR is an acronym for Mound Visits Remaining in baseball. It is a rule in baseball that limits the number of times a team can visit the pitcher on the mound during a game without making a pitching change. In Major League Baseball, each team is allowed six mound visits per nine innings of regulation play.
These mound visits can be made by the manager, pitching coach, or other players (including the catcher) to discuss strategy, make pitching adjustments, or check on the pitcher's physical condition.
Certain types of mound visits do not count toward a team's limit.
For example, a visit to the mound to check on an injured player, a visit to replace a pitcher who is injured or sick, or a visit after a player has been hit by a pitch do not count against a team's mound visit limit.
Moreover, each team is granted one extra mound visit per inning for every extra inning played beyond the ninth.
How many Mound Visits did teams average before?
According to data from the 2017 MLB season, teams averaged 7.41 mound visits per game.
It's worth noting that some of these visits were not strategic in nature, but rather were made to give pitchers a breather, stall for time, or allow the bullpen more time to warm up.
Basically, teams were using the mound visits as a loophole to buy some time and make the necessary adjustments in their favor.
So, in the end, the MVR rule was devised to limit the amount of time spent on these non-strategic mound visits.
What do coaches and players talk about on Mound Visits?
During a mound visit, the manager or pitching coach may discuss things like pitch selection, defensive alignment, and how to approach the current batter.
They may also offer words of encouragement or advice to help the pitcher regain focus or confidence.
In some cases, the catcher may also provide input or suggestions based on their observations of the opposing batters.
I remember seeing the pitcher and catcher disagree on what pitch to throw, which would provoke the catcher to approach the mound.
I was never sure if the catcher was being extra cautious on the pitch selections or if the pitcher was just too stubborn and arrogant.
I’m sure it was a little of both.
Everybody on the team wants to win the game, but maybe they don’t always agree on the tactics.
In case you didn’t know, baseball is the only team sport that doesn’t use a game clock to manage the length of their games.
Instead, the length is dictated by how quickly teams can compile outs each inning. Each inning has six outs or three per team at bat.
Innings are divided in the top and bottom half.
Because there is no game clock, the matches can prolong to over 4 hours, especially when extra innings are needed.
I’m all for reducing the overall game time, as they can get out-of-hand.
If you are attending a game, the commute just adds more time to the outing.
As a kid, I remember getting anxious during visits to the mound and pitching changes.
The worst is when this transition takes 10-15 minutes, and the result is a home run by the opposing team’s batter.
All that effort, and my team still gives up the runs. Ah yes, to be a Montreal Expos fan growing up!
While I no longer have an emotional investment in any particular MLB team, at least I don’t have to grow old waiting on a pitching change anymore.