Major League Baseball wants to set up a 14-second pitch clock with no runners on base and 19 seconds with runners on, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports. Games in low-A West last year saw a drastic difference in game time utilizing this system by reducing the average game time from 3:02 down to 2:41. A major difference, but do we need it?
MLB really wants this and feels shrinking game times will help orchestrate growth in youth viewership. This change would be implemented at the start of the 2023 campaign.
The union also permitted MLB to implement rule changes with 45 days notice, which would permit a pitch clock, shift ban and enlarged bases in 2023.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 6, 2022
The union seems to want other changes like enlarging the bases to heighten player-safety, but the main issue here is the pitch clock. Does the pace of this game matter? A better question to ask is whether or not real fans of baseball ever cared how long they spent at the yard or in front their t.v’s?
As a life-long fan of big league baseball, I don’t remember fans of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry complaining the games took five hours? Matter fact, telling the story of extended game times felt like a thrill to share at work the next day. Today’s generation of “baseball fans” keep reminding us they have better places to be, which might explain why they’re liking the game far less than we ever did. Of course there’s a million alternatives to be entertained these days, so we have to keep that in mind as well when brainstorming the impacts these changes will have on new school fans.
It just appears to be too broad a conclusion to suggest shortening game times will compel kids to flip on Major League Baseball. Reminds me of when frequent movie-goers tell booker-readers “books are too long” and had they shortened Harry Potter by 100 pages, they’d read it — People complaining about the length of books just don’t like to read. Perhaps we shouldn’t change books or the game of baseball to accommodate people that don’t like these things? Why not just let the fans that built this game up enjoy an unchanged game?