The main thing baseball executives are concerned about with the game today is not the product or the players.
No, it’s pace of play.
With the average MLB game still lasting more than three hours, despite drastic efforts to the contrary at the margins, commissioner Rob Manfred is looking for ways to speed up America’s pastime.
Multiple slight rule changes, such as the no-pitch intentional walk, have already been implemented. And now, suddenly, we’re talking about a stringently-enforced pitch clock.
The Commish would LOVE to get this on the books.
With no runners on base, pitchers would have 20 seconds to go through their routine and throw a pitch. With runners on, the time limit does not apply.
You’d have to think this would feel like a sprint to most pitchers, causing fatigue based on a highly unnatural motion. After all, not one qualified starter came in below that 20-second threshold this past season. Carlos Martinez, at 20.1 seconds between pitches, is the only pitcher who might survive without a big-time adjustment.
This rule is already in place in the minor leagues and in college ball (the SEC).
The MLB finds itself at a crossroads. On one hand, it wants to speed the game up, but on the other hand, it wants to make games more exciting by juicing baseballs.
More home runs make the games longer. Video replays, as currently constructed and doled out, make the games much longer. There are a lot of game-lengthening things that can be dealt with without changing the actual on-field product.