Report: Pitch Clocks Coming this season to Double and Triple-A

According to a report tonight by Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors, pitch clocks will be implemented as early as next season in Double and Triple-A stadiums across the country. In addition to this groundbreaking development, it was reported that there will be pitching change limits and an “inning break.”

Most pitchers have only expressed outrage regarding this issue, as in the Arizona Fall League, which acted as the test for pitch clocks, many pitchers felt uncomfortable seeing a red-numbered countdown. It’s only natural for a pitcher to throw carelessly when they see a count down all the way from 4-3-2-(throws in desperation)-ball. Some feel a change like this would make baseball more like basketball.

For batters, this rule could present a major change, as they may be forced to have one foot in the box at all times. Good thing Skip Schumaker and David Ortiz aren’t in the minors anymore. If they are at fault in the pitch clock running out, a strike can be called. Since none of these reports are confirmed yet, be careful when assuming the world is coming to an end for traditional play of baseball, but change has been creeping in for years now, so this would not be a shocker if true.

In the Arizona Fall League, a game took a mere two hours and 14 minutes, versus a three-hour game on average for the major leagues. Baseball’s new commissioner, Rob Manfred, could be defined by how he handles the pace of the game in the future, and judging by initial fan and player reaction,  the perception of a new age in baseball may not be off to a good start. As Selig is riding off into the sunset, the owners had a meeting this week, discussing the pace of play.

For now, until these reports are confirmed, here’s an initial reaction by former pitcher, now pitching coach, Michael Schlact. His answer is simple, but speaks for many feeling the same way right about now.


2 Responses

  1. Al-Kendall

    Never liked the idea, and seeing it used in the AFL confirmed it is bad for the game!

  2. Rogue Elephant

    If done correctly, we could bring baseball into the 21st century while taking it back to its roots of the early 20th century when games lasted less than two and half hours. Here are my suggestions:
    1) develop a “Cyclops” machine to call balls and strikes.
    2) have the balls and strikes, along with the count, called out over the PA system (if you get to hear the calls and are given the count for each pitch at a Little League game, why not the same at a MLB game).
    3) batters have to stay ready once they have established themselves in the box for the first pitch.
    4) if the bases are empty, at the 12 second mark, “Cyclops” would slowly begin to shrink the width and height of the strike zone; perhaps 1/8 of an inch on all four sides per second.
    5) if there is a man on base, the mark would be 22 second before “Cyclops” would begin to shrink the strike zone.
    6) With each throw or fake throw to a base, the 22 second mark would be reduced by two seconds.
    The results of implementing these suggestion would be:
    1) balls and strikes would be called consistently and accurately.
    2) fans would stay a little more focused on the game.
    3) an end to all the time wasted when a batter steps out of the box.
    4) pitchers would learn to consistently pitch the ball within the 12 second limit when the bases are empty, but would NOT be severely penalized for going over the limit by a few seconds.
    5) pitchers would learn to minimize the potential of a stolen base by utilizing the extra ten seconds in many of the same ways that they do now.
    6) a reduction in the number of times a pitcher throws, or fakes a throw, to a base.
    The above suggestions would amount to very subtle changes that would simply speed up the flow of the game and go virtually unnoticed by fans. It would be unnecessary to put a 12 / 22 second clock on the field because pitchers would simply learn to pitch within the time frame. All in all, the flow of games would increase, and their length would return to approximately what it was in the early 20th century.


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