MLB…Son of a Pitch Clock.

For many years, and for as far back as I can remember, people have been complaining about the length of your average Major League baseball game. In the 2014 season, the average length of a 9-inning game was 2 hours and 54 minutes. In our microwave burrito, high-speed internet, MAGLEV Bullet Train society, this must seem like an eternity to some. I know that for myself that while I am a patient person, even the endless commercials during my favorite TV shows drive me crazy. What follows are the proposed innovations and rule changes that will be tried in baseball for the 2015 season. Bob Watson, the former Houston Astro (and owner of MLB’s One Millionth Hit), and current MLB Vice President of On-Field Operations, said “What we want to do is basically cut down the dead time.” So go ahead and take a look at the proposed changes to Our Game…
The Pitch clock…This is going to be tried at the AA level in 2015. If it proves to be successful, fans can expect to see it at the MLB level at some point in the future.
Pitchers would be required to finish their warm-up pitches and be ready to make their first pitch of an inning 30 seconds before the end of all between-inning commercial breaks. Batters would have to be in the batter’s box, ready to start their at-bats, 20 seconds before the end of each break.
Pitchers are to throw the ball within 12 seconds after the batter gets in the box, if no one is on base.
Pitching changes are to take no longer than 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
Breaks between half-innings for commercials are to be strictly kept at 2 minutes, 5 seconds or 2 minutes, 25 seconds for nationally televised games. This is hilarious, as the sponsors who are paying for airtime will absolutely have a cow due to the decreased exposure of their products or services! I foresee quick, 15-second commercial blurbs in our future…
Only 10 seconds of ‘walk-up’ music will be allowed between at-bats.
Hitters are to bring two extra bats to the on-deck circle. In case they break one, it will be quicker to retrieve a bat from the circle as opposed to getting one from the dugout.
One idea that I have heard but will not be acted on is the 1-pitch Intentional Walk. On the surface it sounds like a terrific idea, right? Everybody in the ballpark knows that the intention is for the hitter to be walked. It is no secret, so why waste the time of four pitches when one or none will suffice? It is simply because that even though it is an intentional walk, it still is a live play, meaning that let’s say that the catcher drops one of the pitches? If there is a runner on, that runner can steal a base… or two bases if he is named Billy Hamilton or Jarod Dyson. Let’s carry this one step further, and say that an intentional walk is called for with a runner on third base. If the pitcher air-mails one of the intentional balls over the catchers head, the runner on third can score. Also, just because the pitcher’s intent is to issue a free pass, that does not mean that a hitter is not allowed to step out on one of these pitches, and blast it into next week. There is no rule against it. I have never seen it happen in the Major Leagues, but I have heard of it being attempted in lower-level ball. However, I do not know if it was successful, and I also don’t know if the benches emptied over the breaking of this unwritten courtesy that a batter does not swing at a pitch if it is an intentional walk.
I am glad to see that baseball is willing to look at innovations in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience by examining ways of quickening the pace of games. Personally, I am against a pitch clock. One of the things that is so appealing about baseball is that there is no artificial time limit imposed upon it. It is a quality that does not exist in any other sport, and that alone makes it special. The game is played until there is a winner, and is not subject to a clock. I hope that MLB is successful in its attempt to ‘move things along’, but the imposition of a pitch clock compromises the pastoral quality of baseball that fans cherish.
This article was written without a word clock…


2 thoughts on “MLB…Son of a Pitch Clock.

  1. I know what you’re saying. But, your fighting a losing battle. The modern game has way to much dead time. Changes will be implemented, starting this year, by the umpires. The clock will be in every ballpark in 3 years. Think instant replay. It was on the front burner for about three years. Implemented. Made the game better. It is gonna happen.

    • I know that it is a losing proposition. I guess I am just a purist on the artificiality of a pitch clock issue. I was in favor of replay. I suppose that I can get used to a clock. If it makes the game betteer, then I am willing to give it a try.

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