Major League Baseball has tried for several years to improve pace of play, but games, ironically enough, have never been longer. The average MLB game has lasted roughly three hours and five minutes this season – a record.
A pitch clock would likely change that.
“I’m extremely pro-pitch clock,” Yahoo! Sports MLB columnist Jeff Passan said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “The game slows down to a molasses pace on the whims of a pitcher who just wants to stand there and try to disrupt the timing of the hitter, or the hitter decides to step out and take his good old time adjusting his batting gloves and really gets nothing out of it. I think if you put a pitch clock into Major League Baseball, it would immediately shave a minimum of 10 minutes off the game, and it’s probably closer to 12 or 13.”
Baseball implemented a pitch clock in the minors in 2015. It could be coming to the majors in 2018.
“(The games) are literally longer than they have ever been,” Passan said, “and there’s an easy fix waiting right there for it, something that’s not only going to cut time down from the game, but actually quicken the pace of the game itself. There are certain at-bats when a pitcher who works quickly will get in there and a hitter who doesn’t step out of the box will get in there, and I’ll watch those at-bats and be like, ‘Oh, my God, this is what it could be like. This is enjoyable. This is fun. This makes it seem like the action is happening again and again again’ – as opposed to a normal baseball game, where you’re sitting there and you hit the pause button for a while. I applaud baseball for doing that, whether it’s unilaterally or in conjunction with the players’ association. I think it’s due time.”
And if some players or fans don’t like it, well, tough. If baseball does not improve pace of play, the sport could lose a lot of fans, if it hasn’t already.
“I understand that baseball has always been quote-unquote a game without a clock,” Passan said. “Well, baseball is a game that needs a clock right now.”