Anyone who is following Major League Baseball even the slightest bit has heard the news of the new pitch-clock that was added into the game during spring training this year.
This addition to the game was immediately met with a lot of backlash from fans, and has really divided fans.
Similar to the play-clock in football and the shot-clock in basketball, the idea of the pitch-clock is to keep the game moving at a faster pace. Pitchers no longer have the luxury to screw around with long, drawn-out wind ups and deliveries.
But the pitch-clock isn’t just to keep pitchers moving quickly. Batters are also forced to keep up the pace. Batters have to be careful if they choose to fix their batting gloves, or take a practice swing in between pitches.
If the pitch isn’t delivered in the allotted time, the pitcher is penalized and the batter is granted a ‘ball.’ If the clock violation is called on the batter, they’re given a ‘strike.’
The change was made in response to the rapidly declining viewership of MLB games, and is an attempt to keep the action moving faster to keep audiences entertained.
And this is definitely working. The games are significantly shorter now.
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara threw a 100-pitch complete game shutout against the Minnesota Twins in AN HOUR AND 57 MINUTES.
The average duration of games has decreased by over 30 minutes from last year, and we have proof that sub-2 hour games are possible.
So if the pitch-clock is doing these wonderful things for baseball, why all the controversy?
Well, baseball has never had any sort of time constraints. Other sports have quarters or periods that last 12, 15, or 20 minutes, but baseball runs on the players’ time. A half of an inning doesn’t end until the fielding team records three outs.
The lack of time constraints has been one of the largest aspects of baseball that separates it from other sports, and the baseball die-hards don’t like them messing with the way the game has operated for over a century.
I have very mixed thoughts on the subject.
I think the faster pace of play isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have friends and family who can’t sit through multiple innings unless there are hits or home runs to keep them interested, and they’re sitting through games now.
On the other hand, I agree with the elitists, that they shouldn’t mess with the fundamental flow of baseball.
I think that it just needs to be tweaked. On the first day of spring training, The Braves were tied in the 9th inning. The batter had the bases loaded, and a 3-2 count. This is literally the most exciting scenario to watch in all of baseball.
The batter had strike three called on him because he didn’t get in the batter’s box in time, and the game ended.
I really don’t like how the pitch-clock takes away intense and exciting moments like a close game in the 9th inning. If it were up to me, the pitch clock should be pushed higher for the 9th inning to let the suspense build up.
I also hope they tweak it a little bit for the playoffs, but who knows what will happen.
Just a few days ago Cody Bellinger, now on the Chicago Cubs, made his return to Dodger Stadium where he was greeted with a standing ovation from Dodger fans. He understandably took a moment to take it all in, and the umpire hit him with a strike call for taking too long.
Moments like this are what really set me off about the pitch-clock, especially considering that it has a lot of potential to make the game way more enjoyable.
I also think that as this season progresses, players will be so used to it that fans will almost forget it even exists.
If they don’t, and the pitch-clock violations don’t let up, I think it might be a bigger problem than it is now. Only time will tell.