A new clock rule has caused both confusion and debates among baseball and sports fans in general, including myself.
When I first learned about the new pitch clock rule after what happened with the Atlanta Braves, it was confusing at first, but now I see the benefits of this new rule.
The incident at that game was met with boos from Braves fans because of how the spring training game ended in a tie. I understand the feeling of both the fans and especially the players over the whole event, which left everyone with an unsatisfying end. I especially felt bad for player Cal Conley, as it showed that he was completely shocked by this new rule and didn’t know about it.
In terms of the rule itself, the new clock rule that was implemented at the beginning of this year sets a strict timer for both batters and pitchers that involves a big penalty. According to USA Today, batters have to switch and act within 30 seconds between each turn while pitchers have to throw the ball within 15 seconds if there are no runners on base or 20 seconds if there are runners. The penalty for not keeping pace is a strike for the team that violates the rule.
It also determines that hitters share the same responsibility as both batters and pitchers. The team that is batting receives an automatic strike if the hitter isn’t up to the batter’s box and ready for the pitch within eight seconds.
Upon understanding this rule, I can see how this could greatly affect the length of the game. It’s no secret that baseball is known for going for several hours straight without a whole lot of action occurring. By having this new timer rule, I believe this can not only help modernize baseball to keep a faster pace, but also improve baseball’s reputation as being too slow and uneventful.
MLB commissioner Robert Manfred summarized the goal of this new rule in an interview last year after it was first approved. “These steps are designed to improve pace of play, increase action, and reduce injuries, all of which are goals that have overwhelming support among our fans,” Manfred said.
There’s already been evidence that this new rule has helped remove some time from the game, according to ESPN. The rule was implemented in the minor leagues to see how well it would affect the game time, and results revealed the average game time was 20 minutes shorter than it was before the rule was added.
It continued on to share in detail the results with the average time being around 2 hours and 39 minutes. This was compared to a control set without the rule which averaged 2 hours and 59 minutes per game and the 2021 season’s average time of 3 hours and 3 minutes.
As for the postseason, the rule will be implemented as those games tend to go on longer in comparison to preseason and regular season games, according to Sports Illustrated.
While many are glad that the games will be quicker and hold a good pace of gameplay, I also believe that some baseball fans are worried that what happened to Braves fans may happen to them. However, with the postseason not starting until later this year, teams will have the opportunity to train and get used to the new rule.
Overall, I believe this rule to help reduce the game time will allow both fans and players to enjoy a game with more action and intensity. Whether this will make the game more popular is unknown, but for now, baseball fans can now enjoy a quicker, more exciting game.