New rules for baseball: baseball’s pitch clock

March 19, 2023 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: baseball.

Old time baseball aficionados like me used to be able to brag that, unlike basketball and football, baseball was not governed by any kind of a time clock. The pace of the game could be fast, or it could be leisurely. That was part of its beauty and charm.

We no longer have that to brag about. Baseball is now governed by what has become known as a “pitch clock.” This clock compels a pitcher to throw a ball within 15 seconds from when the umpire starts the clock when there are no base runners. If there are base runners, the pitch must be thrown within 20 seconds.

The first two weeks of spring training this year show that the pitch clock is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is speeding up the game. The average time of a spring training baseball game this year is a full 30 minutes shorter than it was in the spring of 2022.

Most sportswriters that I have read have hailed this change as a good thing, but I’m not so sure. True, the games are faster, and maybe that makes them more exciting. But there is a great deal about our lives that is fast-paced and getting faster all of the time. Baseball was once one of those things that allowed us to slow down, even to suspend time itself. Alas, that is no longer the case.

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