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A pitch clock in Major League Baseball? No thanks.

Aug 21, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT

Play Clock

Andy Martino of the Daily News writes today about the possibility of a pitch clock — an actual clock counting down the seconds — being added to the game in order to speed things up. There is some support for it, he says, and runs down the pros and cons. He notes that Tom Werner — who spoke out on this issue the other day — prefers a pitch clock to other options.

One of those options, as we noted the other day, is simply enforcing Rule 8.04 and Rule 6.02, requiring the pitcher to throw the ball in a timely manner and requiring the batter to stay in the batters box between pitches. Martino talks to Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy about that, and McCarthy notes that the 12 seconds allowed in Rule 6.02 may be extreme. He may very well have a point there, and perhaps changing that rule to, like, 18 seconds and enforcing it is more realistic than 12, but at least it’s a rule with a pedigree and a place to start that does not require radical change.

But as we’ve noted a lot recently, baseball seems to be taken with the idea of adding unnecessary rules and unnecessary components of new rules these days. They felt the All-Star Game wasn’t holding people’s interest? They made it decide home field advantage in the World Series. They felt they had a problem with small market teams not being able to compete? Rather than give them money or draft picks, they put them in a lottery. They felt they had a problem with calls being missed? Rather than simply solve that with a straightforward replay system that would allow umpires to correct their own mistakes, they added an unnecessary manager’s challenge. They felt they had a problem with catchers getting hurt on plate collisions? They made a new rule rather than enforcing existing rules about when catchers can and cannot block the plate. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but baseball has been a big fan of 90 degree turns and long arcs these days.

Which is a shorter way of saying: get used to the idea a little box with a ticking down clock in the corner of your baseball broadcast, because that sort of thing seems way more in character with baseball’s problem-solving approach lately than, you know, actually solving the problem in the most efficient and least-intrusive possible manner.

  1. raysfan1 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Well…a pitch clock could be used as part of enforcing rule 6.02, you know.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      6.02 as it stands, unlike 8.04, doesn’t have a time limit. But, if you just insert “12 seconds” in there, sure. That’s not unreasonable from the official announcement time, to walk from the on-deck circle to the box, set yourself, and be ready for the first pitch.

    • sabatimus - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      And DUH Craig, McCarthy is a pitcher, of COURSE he’s going to think 12 seconds is extreme. I’m in favor of a clock because throw the damn ball already.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        I hadn’t noticed until re-reading now that Craig agrees with McCarthy. This is Craig’s worst non-trolling post in some time.

  2. jbriggs81 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    How much time per game would this actually save? 10 Minutes? 15 minutes? I don’t think people who have an issue with the length of the games will be that much happier by saving 10-15 minutes.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Combined with enforcing 8.04 on batters stepping out, the two together could save more than that. And, actually, beyond the 10-15 minutes, it changes the whole pace of the game, makes it less draggy. I think a fair amount of fans would appreciate that.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        On the time savings? Might be more. Let’s take 150 pitches/game, plus the degree of dragginess involved, and estimate we could save 10 secs/pitch. That might be on the high side, but it might not.

        That’s 1,500 secs.

        Or, put another way.

        A full 25 minutes.

        Add to that pace-of-game issues, etc. …

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM

      Understand your point…

      But it’s more about the pace of the game…

      A game that lasts say 2 hrs and 45 min’s that’s played at an even pace, pitch after pitch feels better to those watching it then a game that has a bunch of stops and starts and many times having almost a minute between pitches.

      Subtle I know but this is less about overall time than pace even though I didn’t describe it well.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Totally agree. The question isn’t whether a game last two-and-a-half hours or three hours. The question is whether there’s interesting stuff happening for that time period. Heck, if they just want to shorten the TIME of the game, cut off two innings.

        Adjustments to the game to limit the time between pitches are about making baseball more interesting to watch. And I support any effort that will kill the dead time. Play ball. For Pete’s sake, play ball.

      • NatsLady - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        I don’t know about a pitch clock, but Chase Anderson pitching two innings and a few batters into the third inning took longer than a round trip to Mars. The worst I’ve seen.

    • jarathen - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      I think you’re selling the changes short. Baseball will never be a fast game, but if games could be 2:30-45 instead of 3:00-3:15, that’s a big improvement.

      • sabatimus - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Or, in the case of Yanks vs Red Sox, 3 1/2 hours versus 4 1/2.

  3. jc4455 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    The underlying message is that baseball as a product won’t sell itself and solving problems represents a marketing opportunity. You get the same message from the national broadcasts- baseball is boring and needs to be spiced up. Seems like MLB has bought into this.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      But, especially compared to more than 20 years ago, it HAS slowed down. I don’t know how much of a problem this is, in reality, but it has slowed down and it has to be some sort of an issue.

      • Uncle Charlie - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:31 AM

        It’s the change in bullpen use and match-ups in general.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        Probably the “three true outcomes” has something here, too?

      • jarathen - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        And the following comments are correct. The ball is put in play less than it was 20 years ago, so there’s less inherent “action”. Baseball doesn’t need to change anything so much as it needs to enforce rules on the books designed to keep a game without an official game clock moving forward.

        If it’s a school night and the game ends at 10:30, that’s 11PM minimum before you’re home. If the game ended at 9:45, why, that’s barely late!

  4. Uncle Charlie - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Or they could do away with relief specialists who eat up 10 minutes every time they warm up.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      They could certainly pass a rule that says — barring injury — you have to give up a run or finish the inning. I would support that.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        Or, a bit of a twist, you have to face two batters, not one, BUT … an announced pinch-hitter has to actually hit. Would keep the offense-defense chessboard equalized.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        I’d rather have rule changes that favor the offense, but that’s just me. (And, no, I don’t want every game to be 12-11.)

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      There is actually a rule, 8.03, that says that the reliever can’t take more than 1 (!) minute to throw his warm-up pitches. That would save at least 10 minutes a game if it were enforced.

    • sabatimus - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Perhaps, but I think it’s the “one pitch/batter and here’s the next reliever” mentality employed by Joe Girardi and others that is worse. Let them at least finish out an inning and have their replacements warm up during the commercial break.

  5. gbart22 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I for one would very much welcome a pitch clock. I like the changes baseball has made I don’t see the big deal at all.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      I’m all for speeding up the game, but wouldn’t a pitch clock wreak some havoc with base-stealing?

      I would assume that the pitcher would have to either throw a pitch to home within the time allotted, or make a throw over to first. It seems like this would give the runner an advantage, knowing how much time the pitcher has to either go home with the pitch, or try to pick off the runner.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        If the pitch clock is just an extension of the existing rule, it only applies when the bases are empty.

  6. mkd - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I’m not sure I see any big problem with a pitch clock. Yes it puts lie to the notion that “there is no clock in baseball,” but if you believe in Rule 8.04 then you’ve already accepted that there is in fact a clock. This is only a question of displaying information that already exists and I for one have no problem with that.

    • jm91rs - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      If you’re going to enforce a rule with a time limit, you obviously need a clock.

      • sabatimus - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        Since they already have officials who look at replays all the time, give another official a stopwatch. If a pitcher continually goes over the time limit, warn him. If he does it repeatedly after that, start calling balls.

  7. pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all, personally. While 10 or 15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, it would just give the game more pace and keep it moving. I’ve seen my share of Yankees games against the Red Sox and when these two play each other it’s like you can almost see the grass grow with the utter slowness of the game.

    I don’t have any facts to back this up, but I’m pretty sure the game today is a longer and more drawn out as compared to games from the 50’s and 60’s. As a kid watching games in the 70’s I don’t remember batters stepping out as much, but that could just be a skewed childhood memory.

  8. miguelcairo - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Next thing you know pitchers aren’t gonna be allowed to toss changeups–they slow the game down too much.

    • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      Thank you. How about we stop “solving” “problems” that aren’t actual problems as opposed to nitpicking nonsense?

      I find soccer and football horrendously boring. I don’t think they’re gonna change those up anytime soon so let’s leave this alone, too.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      What’s next? Are they going to ban lawn fertilizer just because Miguel Cairo is full is crap?

    • miguelcairo - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Damn people, take a joke.

      • sabatimus - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        Honestly, with the stuff you write on here, I never know.

  9. jgarcia050 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    wouldn’t the base runners have an advantage with a clock? once the clock is winding down towards zero they could get a better jump since they know the pitcher has to either throw a pitch or throw over to first

    • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Yes, but Billy who tunes into 3 games a year will find the clock super exciting so ADD IT RIGHT IN!

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      The pitch-time rule only applies with no runners on base.

      When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        beat me to it.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      I just looked up rule 8.04. It only applies when the bases are unoccupied. When the bases are occupied, I would guess that 8.05(h) applies: a balk is called when the pitcher unnecessarily delays the game.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        And, said rule even allows for ejection if a pitcher continues to unnecessarily delay the game.

        All of this shows we just need umps to do their damned jobs rather than showboating when they eject managers.

  10. happytwinsfan - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    When the next pitch is being delayed by the hitter or pitcher fiddling around, the game is like a web page which renders exasperatingly slowly. The sight of the hitter fiddling around with his gloves, or the pitcher walking around muttering to himself are like irritating pop up ads. All this distracts from the drama of the game. Will the tying run be brought in from third? Perhaps we’ll see after the hitter gets done readjusting the Velcro on his gloves as he’s already done on every preceding pitch. If it takes some sort of pitch clock to put an end to it, I’m for it.

    Baseball will still not have a clock in the sense that the game isn’t over until the losing team has used its last out, not because a clock driven buzzer or whistle has sounded.

    • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Don’t jump ahead of yourself. The same individuals jumping around about the game being slow may eventually put a timer on the whole thing. Like, “A new inning cannot start past the two and a half hour mark” or something that they do in little league.

      One of the beauties of baseball is that it does not have to be completed in a “timely fashion” – whatever the hell that is – because a team is NEVER out of it until the last out is recorded. As soon as you start adding clocks, that element is lost.

  11. Bob - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Make the hitter stay in the batter’s box between pitches. That would shave about 15 minutes off the time right there. Of course, the obvious solution is to shorten commercial breaks, but that will never happen because there’s too much money involved.

  12. bitlrc - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    “They felt they had a problem with small market teams not being able to compete? Rather than give them money or draft picks, they put them in a lottery.”

    when did they stop revenue sharing and compensatory draft picks?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      The thing they specifically earmarked for small revenue teams — the competitive balance pick — is a lottery.

  13. bisonaudit - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    No clocks. This is baseball. Part of the point is that there are no clocks.

    The batters are bigger problem when it comes to pace of play than the pitchers are at this point anyway. This issue isn’t the length of the games. They’re shorter than football games. The issue is the pace.

    Enforce the rules as they already exist.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      So…..”the point” is that there are no clocks, but you want them to enforce the time rules? Do you think the ump should just start counting 1-Mississisippi, 2-Mississisippi, 3-Mississisippi while waiting for the pitch? You know “the point” of clocks is to keep time, right? And that enforcing those rules amounts to paying attention to time.

      • bisonaudit - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        The umpires manage to not let the pitching coach or manager stand out on the mound all night and “call the roll” just fine without a clock. Part of the appeal of baseball is that it exists out-of-time and adding an actual pitch clock would damage that. It’s less about actual rigid time keeping than it is about pace. Baseball games are shorter than football games but they’re not perceived that way.

        Actually, as both games have become more tactical they’ve both gotten longer but for whatever reason the perception is different.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Actually, a lot of AL games, at least, are longer than NFL games.

    • mybrunoblog - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      I don’t like the idea of a clock but unfortunately we are at a point where it may be necessary. I love baseball but the games are dragging. Something needs to be done.

  14. Paper Lions - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Changing the rule to 18 seconds would have no effect whatsoever on game time. None.

    Most MLB pitchers average between 20 and 23 seconds between pitches, and that includes when there is a runner on. As noted above, such a rule would only apply to the bases being empty. In short, thinking 18 seconds is reasonable is akin to thinking the current pace is relatively speedy, because very few (if any) pitchers take 18 seconds between pitches with the bases empty.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      The Red Sox pitchers, of recent years, who are slowest to the plate — Dice-K, Beckett, Buchholz — are MUCH slower with runners on. I’m in favor of limiting the time between pitches, but I think Paper Lions is right: 18 seconds, without runners on base, is close to the pace that exists now.

      If they’re going to speed up the game, the need to do something about when runners get on, too.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Fangraphs actually has a “pace” stat which is seconds between pitches….I think it is for all pitches though and doesn’t separate out bases empty from runners on. The fastest in the league is Buerle at 17 seconds, the next guy is over 19 seconds….the slowest is about 26 seconds (I think it is actually David Price).

      • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        No one’s ever explained to me what the pitchers think they’re gaining by waiting longer. I’m sure there’s a reason (it doesn’t have to be a good one!), but I’ve never heard it.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        If we average Lions’ different numbers, we’re probably at about 22 secs, which gets to what I said way up top. A savings of 10 seconds per pitch isn’t unrealistic.

        @18th – pitchers of yore like Gibby liked the fast pace exactly because it allowed them to be in control more. I wish pitchers would realize that.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        Why do people say “pitchers like Bob Gibson” more often than “pitchers like [anyone else]”? I reminds me of Magic Johnson’s speech at Larry Bird Night (when his number was retired). “there will never, ever be another Larry Bird.” There’s no pitcher like Bob Gibson.

  15. Eutaw's Finest - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Why not limit the amount of TO’s a pitcher/hitter can call? It may not save a TON of time, but it would help. And in the instance a pitcher is put on a clock, the batter can effectively ‘screw him over’ by taking his good ol’ time getting situated, right? So let’s say 1 timeout per pitcher and hitter, per at bat? I think that’s part of the issue there. Think about some of these at bats:

    Pitcher scuffles around the mound
    Hitter stands outside of the box…takes a practice cut… adjusts his gloves…knocks his cleats…
    Pitcher takes the rubber and stares down the hitter…
    Hitter stares down hitter…
    Pitcher steps off…
    Hitter steps out and goes through the glove and cleat routine again…
    Back in the box…
    Pitcher stares down hitter too long…
    Hitter requests time…
    Freaking 3rd time through the routine…
    Back to the stare down…

    And with batters calling time, how would that work with a clock anyway? Stop the clock? Reset or start from the stopped point? And if they clock is exceeded does the hitter take a base? Count as a ball in the count? Too many factors. Limiting timeouts seem more efficient to me.

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Edit function. That’s all I want for Christmas this year is an HBT edit function.

      Hitter does NOT stare down the hitter. Unless they are a bit vain. And have a mirror. Or maybe taking a selfie (is that reference too current for some of you… we’ll say seasoned HBT vets?).

  16. lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    It seems a little unfair to me to begin enforcing a time restriction between pitches WITHOUT providing some sort of clock in the stadium in a place where the pitcher could easily see it.

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      The rhythm of the game affects the internal clock. They know when they’re taking too long and when they’re pitching too quickly. They go through these rhythm scenarios thousands upon thousands of times each year in practice and over the winter, not to mention in actual games. I’d bet that we’d see a few balls called for taking too much time the first month or so of the rule being enforced (without a clock), but that it would taper off to the same incidence rate as balks currently have by the end of the first season. I don’t think having a visible clock would affect the numbers at all.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        I get what you’re saying and don’t necessarily disagree with you, but if you don’t think a manager is going to make a stink every time it’s called if there is no visual proof, you’re being a little naive.

      • blacksables - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        Yeah, because they don’t complain about everything right now.

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      It was done before. I’d prefer a clock, but it’s not necessary. It was done before. On 8.04, the video’s been posted before about the 1974 Cards-Cubs game when the plate ump told Hrabosky to pitch when Madlock wouldn’t get in the box.

  17. SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Per what I said above about umpires, Commissioner-Elect Manfred could kick this thing off by fining umps for not enforcing 6.02 and 8.04. Just like this year at spring training on the plate-blocking rule, except that these aren’t new rules, announce publicly to all teams that these rules will be enforced and umps will be fined if they’re not.

    • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Two days in a row that we’re in agreement. I’m impressed!

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        By enforcing both rules, neither offense nor defense is favored. That said, if you’re a team that does a lot of defensive shifts, this means your fielders have to be moving too. And, they ideally should remember “Hamilton comes after Pujols” or whatever, and be mentally prepared.

        (Puig alert! Can he attain this level of focus?)

    • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      I’m all for it. I think speeding up the game is a win win for the fans and MLB. I heard that the average age of a baseball fan is now 54 and been going up for years apparently. I don’t know if speeding up the game would help with this particular problem but I can’t see how it would hurt. I know for myself that I’m lucky if I can stay up until the 6th inning on most weeknight games.

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        I wonder what the median age of baseball fans would be. I read that same average age and wondered about the methodology of the study. If it was limited to adults, no one under 18 could be a baseball fan. If it was a household poll, did it limit respondents to home phone owners (who tend to be older than all phone users)? Depending on the methodology the median could be much lower, while the mean could just be skewed high because of the distribution of respondents. It’s all speculation, but the methodology really matters.

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        I wonder as well about the methodology of this study, but I think it’s clear kids today aren’t as into baseball as they were decades ago. Between the lack of day games and the cost associated with bringing a family to a MLB game, I just think kids don’t see enough of the game anymore to really care.

      • happytwinsfan - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Very good point. We baseball fans are old as dirt, and accordingly we don’t buy green bananas, so we can’t be expected to wait forever for a pitch.

        I wonder how many baseball fans (and/or World War II vets) die on average during a Yankees RedSox game. Anybody done a study on that?

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        I’m not sure how sarcastic your response is as a whole, but if you’ve never watched a Yankees/Red Sox game then I don’t think you know what I’m talking about.

        And if you actually think the pace of a baseball game is moving well then I don’t think you have anything to worry about because I highly doubt we’ll ever see the day when the umpires enforce the rules when it’s come to this.

  18. shipdog7 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Intentional walks…. automatic first base if requested by a manager. When was the last time a batter reached for a ball way outside? Cabreba…8 years ago? Only allow a hitter to have 3 foul balls per at bat. And then it is a strikeout. Outlaw batting gloves. Stopping the adjustment after every pitch. Unless in the batters box. That would be funny….a pitcher quick pitching while adjusting their gloves.

    • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      No. Just no to all of that.

      And if you’re joking, add a smiley face at the end. :-) Otherwise, it’s serious business around here.

  19. pinwilly6 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    The atlantic league made simple changes that helped with the speed of the game. I was at a game this weekend it took just under 3 hours to play an 11 inning game
    The league announced on July 17 that it would implement six rules including:

    — automatic intentional walks;

    — reduced number of warm-up pitches;

    — designating pinch runners for catchers when they reach base to allow them to put on their equipment;

    — the use of a limited number of timeouts for visits to the mound to talk to the pitcher;

    — and requiring umpires to enforce the current rulebook more strictly.

    • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      If they made it so hitters don’t actually run the bases after a homerun, why the Atlantic League might just have themselves one hell of a slow pitch softball team!

      • pinwilly6 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        Whats the difference between a catcher not running the basses or a pitcher not hitting. The dh is terrible

    • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      Does the number of warm-up pitches matter in MLB? I think the pitchers are often ready to start the inning before the TV broadcast is, so they keep throwing.

      I’m all for automatic intentional walks. But then again, BOOING the intentional walk is one of the great joys in life. If you can give me a venue to boo, then maybe we can make this work.

      Most importantly: make me the commissioner (or, alternatively, your emperor), and there will never be another mound visit ever again. As emperor, I’ll also solve your parking problems.

  20. jdillydawg - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    I wouldn’t actually mind a clock if it kept the game on pace. The problem with enforcing the 12 second rule right now is that I can see managers arguing vehemently over when that 12 seconds actually started. Without a clock, it’s rather arbitrary, isn’t it? Would it mean going to replays to see where the clock was when a pitcher got set, or a batter entered the box? How tedious would that be…

    But if I were a manager, I’d probably be pushing for a clock. Because the last thing in the world I’d want my pitcher doing is overthinking a simple situation…

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      It’s like balls and strikes; umps give you a quick heave-ho for questioning the clock.

    • Damidwesterner - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      Then they’ll have a new metric. Which Umps count the fastest, which the slowest.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        Or maybe, just which umps count regularly and accurately?

  21. scoochpooch - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Of course Craig hates this, he’s the disenting opinion just to be the disenting opinion. The pitcher and batter nonsense is hurting the game, a clock will help it. The other examples mentioned were steps in the right direction- replay isn’t perfect but it’s better than umps fixing games like they used to; collisions have ended which is good as well.
    Baseball needs to shift its game length towards soccer’s 2 hours instead of increasing it towards NFL/CFB (4 hours) and NHL (7 hours in playoffs).

    • infieldhit - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      This doesn’t get mentioned enough, but a few years ago the NHL actually made a concerted effort to drastically cut down idle time between face-offs, and it actually worked, and no one complained.

  22. perryt200 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    There is only two people that want a shorter game. The old fart that can’t stay awake thru the whole game watching it at home on TV. And they guy that owns a bar across the street from some ball parks.

    No one else wants a faster game.

    The owners don’t want a faster game, the longer there are butts in the seats the more money.

    TV doesn’t want a faster game, the longer the game the more commercials. And I think TV has added to game length more than anything.

    The players don’t want a faster game, most play it like un-timed chess.

    Even the fans at the game don’t want it to be shorter. If they leave it is only because they can’t get any more beer at the 7th inning.

    So if it is really decided to make a shorter game it only means less money for someone.

    • blacksables - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Or there’s the third guy, me. Who lives too far away from a park and has to watch the games at odd hours.

      But thanks for lumping 7,000,000,000 into 4 definable groups.

      Since you’re speaking for all of humanity, can you call my boss and tell her I’m sick tomorrow.

      • wonkypenguin - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Oh my god is it annoying when someone uses the “I’M AN EXCEPTION!” argument. It’s a semantic game. There are always exceptions and everyone knows it so stop pointing it out.

        Technically, though, even if you’re not an old fart, what you’re saying is you can’t stay awake through the whole game due to the odd hours time difference so you do actually fit into one of the groups.

      • blacksables - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        No, what I’m saying is people should stop saying ‘everyone’ when they mean themselves.

        Phrases like ‘no one ever’, or ‘we all’, or ‘only right-minded people’ are idiotic.

        Because ‘someone has’, or ‘wrong’ or ‘only to your way of thinking’ are the correct answers to those.

        Stupid exaggerations to prove a point that doesn’t exist are stupid. Deal with the real world.

        7,000,000,000+ people have 7,000,000,000+ opinions. We don’t all think alike. We have a right to differing opinions and to express them. Deal with it.

  23. daviclark55 - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    No pitch clock. The first base ump can count the time just like officials in basketball count time for inbounds passes or lane violations…

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:39 PM

      There is that. Back in the “olden” days, surely it was either him, or more likely yet, the 3B ump, who “kept time”when they actually enforced these rules.

  24. infieldhit - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    World Series home field advantage is given to whichever team had the lower average time between pitches.

  25. paco53 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    I ump high school ball and we have time limits. The rules say the batter has to keep one foot in the box unless he swings at the pitch or the pitch drives him out of the box. The pitcher has to deliver the ball within 20 seconds of the previous pitch. We do not allow the batters to take phantom swings 10 feet away from the box. We do not allow the pitcher to walk behind the mound, stare at the sky or the scoreboard, and then, finally, to put their foot on the rubber. MLB should do the same.

    I still remember a game I attended in the late 1980s where Tom Browning of the Reds beat Rich Mahler of the Braves. It lasted 1:59. Those guys would get the ball, take their sign, and pitch. The batters batted. That is what baseball is supposed to be like.

    Another way to speed up the game is to force the manager to appeal when he leaves the dugout. Currently, the manager takes a s-l-o-w walk towards the field while looking over his shoulder to see what his coach says. By the time he gets out to 2nd base and receives a “thumbs down” from his coach, he has wasted 2 minutes. If he feels strongly about a call, he should appeal it. If he is not sure, then he should stay in the dugout and let play proceed.

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