As we all know, baseball is the only major sport without a time clock. This causes the games to be more time consuming, which could cause viewers to be not as interested in the sport as a whole. Major League Baseball is taking steps to become the next sport with a time element. The MLB is currently testing experiments in a pitch clock in the Arizona Fall League. Bud Selig, the former MLB commissioner, created the “Pace of Game Committee” in September to try and come up with a way of making the pace of the game quicker. This could be a major effect on the game because baseball is known for being a game of your own pace. Frank Kremblas, who is managing in the Fall League, said “In the major leagues is where the problem is. That’s why they’re doing it. We’re the experimental people.” The minor league is not showing that much of a problem without the time clock, but they are experimenting the clock for it to hopefully be used in the big leagues at some point.
Over the past few decades, it has been proven that the length of baseball games has increased. The mean, or the average, amount of time a baseball game occurs was about 2 hours and 20 minutes in 1950. In the game today, games take as long as 3-4 hours. Some believe that this is ridiculously long for a baseball game and Selig believes this should be fixed. In Game 1 of last years World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, the game set a record low in ratings for the second time in the past 3 seasons because the game was about 3 and a half hours. The MLB does not want to lose their fans and money over something they may be able to control.
Another troubling factor to the game of baseball is the runs scored per year. The average of runs scored this year was about 4.07 runs, per game. The question is if the ball is not getting put into play, how are the games taking so long? Another thing that controls the speed of the game is the time pitchers and batters take in between pitches. You have some pitchers that cruise through the game averaging about 17 seconds in between pitches or guys who take 25-28 seconds in between pitches. Even though the difference between 18 and 25 is not that much, it really adds up in the end and can drastically increase the length of a game.
The pitching clock itself is almost a more in depth version of Rule 8.04. This rule states that the pitcher must deliver the pitch 12 seconds after the catcher throws him the ball, but the umpire rarely follows this rule. The pitch clock allows the pitcher to have 20 seconds in between each pitch or it is an automatic ball. Once the pitcher gets set and ready on the mound he can’t step off, unless it is a pick off attempt, he must continue with the pitch. With the new prospective pitch clock, the batter also must have one foot in the box unless there is a special occasion. Pitchers have 2 minutes and 5 seconds to deliver a pitch after the end of the previous inning and if they do not do that, it is an automatic ball. The penalty for the batter is if they are not in the box after a 1 minute and 45 seconds they receive a strike. The rule definitely changes a lot of things for teams and the game of baseball as a whole.
There was a lot of discussion on how many and where the clocks should be placed in the ballparks. The first pitch clock was put in at Salt River Fields, the only Arizona Fall League field with the clock. There are a total of five clocks: 2 in each dugout, 2 behind home plate, and one on the outfield wall. The clocks behind home plate were designed so they do not distract the pitcher when he was trying to pitch. Once the pitcher gets set and ready on the mound he can’t step off, he has to continue with the pitch. With the use of the clock in the AFL, the games played have averaged to be 10 minutes shorter. If this keeps occurring, do not be surprised if new commissioner, Rob Manfred, makes a move to make this happen in the big leagues. It was recently announced that the clocks will be used in minor league baseball. Will it happen in the MLB? I guess we must wait to see.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.