The Introduction of MLB Pitch Clock


Robert Temprano '25

The introduction of the MLB pitch clock is the biggest rule change in sports since the NBA’s introduction of the shot clock. The pitch clock gives pitchers 15 seconds to throw a pitch with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on base. Hitters are required to be in the batter’s box with eight seconds on the pitch clock. This rule was put in place to eliminate the downtime where the pitcher held the ball for long periods of time, or where a batter spent large periods of time outside of the batter’s box. However, the question is: is the pitch clock a good or bad addition to baseball?

The pitch clock creates a new dimension for baseball. The average baseball fan’s main complaint about watching baseball is the usual “It’s just too slow” or “It’s so boring”, but the pitch clock speeds the game up and introduces the idea of nonstop action for fans. Last year, in the 2022 MLB season, the average time for a game was 3 hours and 6 minutes. The year before, in the 2021 MLB season, it was 3 hours and 11 minutes, the longest average time for an MLB game ever. This year, the average time for a game is down to 2 hours and 38 minutes, the shortest it has been since 1981. A 30 minute shortening of a game is drastic for the average viewer. Unfortunately, like most things, the pitch clock has its flaws.

One flaw I see with the pitch clock has to do with the pitchers’ styles. Some pitchers formerly pitched at a quicker pace to keep batters off balance. Now, going quickly is the norm, making the pitchers have to adapt and completely change their play style. Another issue is the pace of the game for outfielders and infielders. Sometimes, there are plays where multiple fielders are moving large distances and find themselves sprinting back into their spot in order to be in position for the next pitch. Lastly, the pitch clock should not have enough influence on the game to make a game-changing call at the end of a game. There should be some exception for the end of games that limit the power of the pitch clock.

Fortunately, changes can be made in future seasons and I believe that the MLB is moving in the right direction with the addition of the pitch clock. The faster pace of the game makes baseball easier to watch for the average fan and prevents fans from getting bored at games, making them enjoy baseball more and continue to buy tickets.