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MLB executives weigh in on the pitch clock

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Most of them think it’s a really good idea.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

An 18-second pitch clock is being used in the Arizona Fall League. I’ve attended two AFL games and the game times were 2:21 and 2:31, throwbacks to 1980s-length games. That’s anecdotal data, of course, but I will tell you the games feel faster. The pace of play moves right along, there’s no incessant stepping out by batters or stepping off by pitchers. And the second of the two games I attended had a score of 11-10, so it’s not like the pitch clocks are affecting putting balls in play or scoring.

Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser spoke to 19 MLB general managers about the pitch clock at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, California this week and the overwhelming majority thought it was a good idea.

That included Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer, who, as I mentioned in my recap of Monday’s game, was in attendance that afternoon. Here’s what Hoyer said:

“I know it’s gone really well in the Fall League. I was just down there in the Fall League and it seems like it’s going well. There’s adjustments that have to be made. I think particularly the man on second base, there are some sign-stealing type of issues that you have to get around, but certainly in theory I think we all want quicker games. I can’t imagine you find anyone that doesn’t. So if this is a means to that end, I think it’s great.”

That’s pretty much the consensus of other baseball executives interviewed for the BA article. Here are a couple of other representative comments from baseball folks interviewed by BA, including this note that says the same thing I did about “feel”:

Cleveland president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti

“The pitch timer is one that I think you could just see the difference. I mean when you’re watching a game, you’re out at the Arizona Fall League and you just feel the game just moving along much more quickly. So not only I think it shaved 20-plus minutes off game time, you can just feel it when you’re at the ballpark. There’s just not as much dead time, and I’m not aware of anyone whose looking to add more dead time.”

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski

“We were just talking about one rule I really like is when they have, because I was just in Arizona, I’m a big advocate of the clock, the timer. I guess about everybody is. I like it. I like different ideas and trying different things.

“The game moves faster. Pitcher gets the ball, the batter’s in the box and here you go. Just a lot more action on a consistent basis. So that’s what I really like. You don’t have much downtime at all. They did do it a few years ago and I remember there they called some balls at the time, but guys adjust very quickly. It’s amazing how quickly. And I think in some ways it’s more beneficial for some pitchers, because sometimes some pitchers are working too slow, and now they get back on the mound and boom they’re ready to go. When you talk about that time period, it’s not rushing people at all.”

The BA article isn’t paywalled so you can read it and see the thoughts of all 19 MLB front office execs they spoke to. The pitch clock is an idea whose time has come, in my opinion. I hope it’s instituted at the MLB level in 2022.

Poll

The pitch clock...

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Love it! Put it in MLB now, pick up the pace of play
    (225 votes)
  • 9%
    Hate it! Baseball isn’t timed!
    (28 votes)
  • 10%
    Don’t care either way
    (31 votes)
284 votes total Vote Now