The MLB has sought to make its product more accessible to fans as runtimes of three hours per game dampen appeal.
After working with a strict pitch clock in minor league games, baseball may soon have its solution in place as the results set up the MLB to follow suit, potentially in 2023.
According to a report by ESPN MLB analyst Jeff Passan, utilizing a strict pitch clock cut game times in the minors by 20 minutes.
MLB games in 2021 totaled nearly 3 hours and 5 minutes.
“Over the first 132 minor league games that included a 14-second clock with the bases empty, 18-second clock with runners on and penalties for pitchers and hitters that run afoul of it, the average game time was 2 hours, 39 minutes,” Passan wrote.
He added, “More than one-third of minor league games over the three-day sample with the clock ended in less than 2 hours, 30 minutes, including one game that finished in 1 hour, 59 minutes and another in 2 hours.
“Twenty-seven percent of games fell within the 2:30 to 2:40 range — nearly three times the percentage in 2021. Only 15 percent of games exceeded three hours, compared to 52 percent of games last season with no timer in place.”
Some fans have argued that the game doesn’t need a pitch clock as much as slight time management between managers and their pitching rotations. However, baseball already holds a ticking time frame for pitchers — though the MLB hasn’t been as concerned with implementing the 12-second standard.
MLB’s Rule 8.04 states: “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call ‘Ball.’”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela