Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Baseball Needs a Pitch Clock

There, I said it.

There has been a lot of talk recently about how to speed up baseball games. Some new rules have helped - a timer between innings, keeping guys in the box during at-bats - but they just don't seem to be enough.

Look, I love baseball. Longtime fans of mine certainly know that. I will defend it against casual fans who complain about it being "boring." Even if those people thought the 2017 NBA Playoffs were "exciting" - you can think what you want, but I don't think we watched the same games. But even I can admit that, sometimes, baseball takes longer than it should. And THE MAN (the union too, I guess) needs to make some moves on it.

Quick aside: I love that they no longer have to throw pitches for an intentional walk (though I think it should only be allowed at the beginning of the AB). Does it save a lot of time? No, but I always hated it. Okay, back to me.

Two "rituals" in baseball that greatly hinder this pace of play deal for me are: guys calling time in the box and pitchers stepping off the rubber. I'm not suggesting the moves be outlawed, as the acts themselves aren't my concern. But their overuse is part of what can make games really drag. And, as a bonus gripe, can we limit pickoff throws? The DH you just pitched around isn't going anywhere with a 5-run lead in the 8th. Calm yourself.

All of these issues can, I think, be solved by adding *dramatic music* a pitch clock. Some may argue that speeding up a player's routine will affect his play. I see the point, but do you know what he'll do up there? He'll do exactly what players have been doing for decades: adjust!

They've adjusted to the mound. They've adjusted with the shift. They've adjusted to caring - and now no longer caring - about winning the All-Star Game. Baseball is as much about routines as it is making adjustments to them. It might take a while, but I'm sure that professional players can get used to finishing their moves in a few minutes (hey now!).

And besides, it's not like players get paid by the hour. If this goes as anticipated and really does shorten games, they'll essentially make more money for less work. And that means more time to crap open cold ones. Everyone wins!

So come on, big wigs, let's do the thing!

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