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Miller: Pitch Clocks.. Speed up game, but Players hate it


https://www.startribune.com/twins-saints-pitch-clock-minor-leagues-speeds-slows-royce-lewis-devin-smeltzer/600174872/?fbclid=IwAR1M51NYamGmZoyuL6QdoyLf2BI0sh3Jc4mw08oviq3XsHJznFJOnrrZL3Y

I don't know if anyone likes the idea of a pitch clock, but there are definitely two sides to the discussion... 

1.) In leagues with the pitch clock, games have been shortened by about 24 minutes. 

2.) From the above Phil Miller article, the players - hitters and pitchers - both do not like it. They feel rushed. Their timing can be off. A ball or a strike can be called if the pitcher or hitter isn't ready. Phil talked to several players who have spent time in St. Paul this season for their thoughts. It's interesting. 

Personal opinion: I don't care if games are longer or shorter... but "Pace of Play" is important, in my opinion. I've watched several of Louie Varland's starts for Wichita this year. He works really fast and the game moves along. There isn't much worse than watching a pitcher who works really, really slow. 

Likewise, Chuck Knoblauch was a great player, but watching him step out of the batter's box after every pitch to re-adjust his batting gloves doesn't feel necessary. 

What do you think? 

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As a fan I hate seeing the automatic ball or Strike going against my team.  I do, however, like that it speeds up the pace of play.  I get that sometimes a hitter or pitcher could use a few more seconds at times to take a deep breath\focus or whatever but I don't know how to fix that.  I think I am still more for moving play along than keeping the status quo but I can see it placing extra pressure on players at times.

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I think instead of having pitch clocks, have plate appearance clocks.  Each PA ends after 2 minutes, no matter what.  If a pitcher has managed to get 4 strikes of any kind on a batter within the first 5 pitches, it is a strikeout.  If the pitcher has not, it is a walk.  If the pitcher does not throw 5 pitches in 2 minutes, it is a walk.  A couple of other notes necessary to make this happen;

  • A hitter gets one 15 second timeout per PA, that does not count against the 2 minute limit.
  • Current rules on strikeouts and walks continue--3 swinging/called strikes is still a strikeout, 4 balls is still a walk.
  • The pitcher must wait at least 10 seconds from the end of the previous pitch to start his motion--there will be a 5th official who's only job is to start that 10 second clock.

This will have the effect of forcing batters to stay in the box, and value in-play contact (no more constant foul balls waiting for a pitch).  If you have 3 strikes on you (1 or more foul balls), you'll need to choke up and make in-play contact, because one more foul ball and you're done.  It will incentivize pitchers to attack the zone, because if you can get 4 strikes (swinging, called, or fouls) in the first 4 pitches, you can just pitch out and end the PA.  This would fix so many of baseball's problems by incentivizing both the pitcher and hitter to be more aggressive early in the at bat, and for hitters to value contact as opposed to selling out for power.

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""Once you get used to it, I wouldn't say it's uncomfortable, it's just odd. There's always been a reset period after a pitch, between the pitcher and hitter, and I think it's necessary," said outfielder Trevor Larnach. "But if something happens and a guy calls time real quick because something's in his eye, that's a problem. That's a big deal for a hitter. If your contacts [lenses] are messed up or you have a gnat in your face, that has a big impact."

See, this quote is a prime example of something that feels like a big deal to players in transition, but will obviously work fine in the long run. Every other position in every other sport has to play through little inconveniences and discomforts. If you're a hockey player, you can't call time because your contact lens is messed up. That would be absurd. No one would dream of letting it interfere with pace of play. I'm sure it's nice for hitters to be able to take their time and get comfortable, but it's a luxury that every other type of athlete has figured out how to play without.

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Here's a game from 70 years ago. Kind of an important game, with players bearing down, and there were pauses in the action just like today - indeed some of the pauses are unusual by today's standards, going to find a rosin bag, or very long catcher-pitcher conferences.  But no perceived need to strut around on the mound or away from the batter's box between each and every pitch.  Very different pace of game than today's.  Doesn't hurt that there was a lot of first-pitch swinging and bunting.  I'd watch that style of game more often than now, TBH, but a pitch clock would be only a small part of getting all the way back to that old fashioned way of playing.  (Skip forward to about the 13 minute mark to bypass the intro and see the start of the game.)


Compare, if you will, to last year's final game.  Quality of play - outstanding.  Puts the 1952 version to shame - those Yankees couldn't have beaten either the Braves or Astros IMO.  But watching it takes a whole lot more effort.  (Go to the 40-minute mark for first pitch.)

 

My very small and unscientific sampling, when a pitch is called a ball or a strike but not hit foul or anything: routinely 10 seconds or so between pitches in 1952, and routinely 20+ seconds in 2021.  Bring me the pitch clock!  But nothing being discussed now is bringing it back down to 10.

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16 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I think instead of having pitch clocks, have plate appearance clocks.  Each PA ends after 2 minutes, no matter what.  If a pitcher has managed to get 4 strikes of any kind on a batter within the first 5 pitches, it is a strikeout.  If the pitcher has not, it is a walk.  If the pitcher does not throw 5 pitches in 2 minutes, it is a walk.  A couple of other notes necessary to make this happen;

  • A hitter gets one 15 second timeout per PA, that does not count against the 2 minute limit.
  • Current rules on strikeouts and walks continue--3 swinging/called strikes is still a strikeout, 4 balls is still a walk.
  • The pitcher must wait at least 10 seconds from the end of the previous pitch to start his motion--there will be a 5th official who's only job is to start that 10 second clock.

This will have the effect of forcing batters to stay in the box, and value in-play contact (no more constant foul balls waiting for a pitch).  If you have 3 strikes on you (1 or more foul balls), you'll need to choke up and make in-play contact, because one more foul ball and you're done.  It will incentivize pitchers to attack the zone, because if you can get 4 strikes (swinging, called, or fouls) in the first 4 pitches, you can just pitch out and end the PA.  This would fix so many of baseball's problems by incentivizing both the pitcher and hitter to be more aggressive early in the at bat, and for hitters to value contact as opposed to selling out for power.

No offense, but this is crazy.

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Apparently, Phil did not go to business school.  He should be interviewing the customers not the people getting paid to provide this entertainment.  Are movies made based on what the actors prefer?  Those of us who provide the multi-million dollar salaries for playing a game are the opinions who matter most.

 

BTW ... I have listened to interviews Grant Paulson and someone else who I don't remember have done.   They asked Milb players about the pitch clock and their response was that they barely noticed once they got used to it.  

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18 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I think instead of having pitch clocks, have plate appearance clocks.  Each PA ends after 2 minutes, no matter what.  If a pitcher has managed to get 4 strikes of any kind on a batter within the first 5 pitches, it is a strikeout.  If the pitcher has not, it is a walk.  If the pitcher does not throw 5 pitches in 2 minutes, it is a walk.  A couple of other notes necessary to make this happen;

  • A hitter gets one 15 second timeout per PA, that does not count against the 2 minute limit.
  • Current rules on strikeouts and walks continue--3 swinging/called strikes is still a strikeout, 4 balls is still a walk.
  • The pitcher must wait at least 10 seconds from the end of the previous pitch to start his motion--there will be a 5th official who's only job is to start that 10 second clock.

This will have the effect of forcing batters to stay in the box, and value in-play contact (no more constant foul balls waiting for a pitch).  If you have 3 strikes on you (1 or more foul balls), you'll need to choke up and make in-play contact, because one more foul ball and you're done.  It will incentivize pitchers to attack the zone, because if you can get 4 strikes (swinging, called, or fouls) in the first 4 pitches, you can just pitch out and end the PA.  This would fix so many of baseball's problems by incentivizing both the pitcher and hitter to be more aggressive early in the at bat, and for hitters to value contact as opposed to selling out for power.

No thanks. The game is fine without people "fixing it". The biggest issue I see is baseball has sold it's soul for TV revenue, way too many commercials. But they like those advertising dollars too much to do anything about it so they've gotta make adjustments in other ways. 

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3 hours ago, mnfireman said:

Or they could just enforce a rule already in place:

Rule 8.04: “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.'”

Yes. I have been putting this in too many of these conversations that concern a pitch clock. There is a rule, enforce it. There is no reason to add another to just restate what is there already. 

Until Manfred dictates/ allows the rules to be enforced, nothing will ever change.

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On 5/20/2022 at 12:27 PM, Seth Stohs said:

2.) From the above Phil Miller article, the players - hitters and pitchers - both do not like it. They feel rushed. Their timing can be off. A ball or a strike can be called if the pitcher or hitter isn't ready. Phil talked to several players who have spent time in St. Paul this season for their thoughts. It's interesting. 

It is physically impossible for me to care less about whether the players like the pitch clock.

If they hadn't slowed the game to a crawl in the first place, we wouldn't be taking these draconian measures to speed up the pace of play.

If you don't like the pitch clock, maybe you all shouldn't have spent three decades stepping out, ****ing around with your damned batting gloves, or pacing around the mound three times between every pitch. As a fan, I pay your salary and if you're not entertaining enough, I WILL DO OTHER THINGS.

And right now, the game is not entertaining. It's circling the drain as an entertainment option and a pitch clock should have been implemented five years ago.

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1 hour ago, tony&rodney said:

Yes. I have been putting this in too many of these conversations that concern a pitch clock. There is a rule, enforce it. There is no reason to add another to just restate what is there already. 

Until Manfred dictates/ allows the rules to be enforced, nothing will ever change.

The current rule is toothless. It has all these (stupid) stipulations and doesn't actually start until the pitcher is in position on the mound, then it begins a 20 second countdown. It wouldn't have an actual impact on the current game for anyone except the absolute slowest of pitchers.

The new rule is much stricter and exact, as it should be.

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6 hours ago, rwilfong86 said:

No thanks. The game is fine without people "fixing it". The biggest issue I see is baseball has sold it's soul for TV revenue, way too many commercials. But they like those advertising dollars too much to do anything about it so they've gotta make adjustments in other ways. 

This is objectively false.  Player behavior is the driving force of game length.

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3 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

We discussed this in the other forum but I will say it here too: players revolting only makes me love this more.  Of course it "feels" weird!  You have played a decade of baseball meandering around between action.....but that is terrible for the game. It has to go.

Yep. If they hadn't abused the lack of a rule in the first place, we wouldn't be here right now.

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1 minute ago, rwilfong86 said:

In your opinion. I'm not saying that is the only reason, but a major reason. Watching a game on TV is becoming more and more tedious. 

 

You can do the math on this. Removing one commercial from each break shortens a game by at least nine minutes but probably not much more than that. I'll be generous and say the average game has four mid-inning pitcher replacements so we're now at 11 minutes.

The article mentions the pitch clock reducing game length by 24 minutes.

Commercials are not the problem.

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26 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

The game is far from fine if you base its popularity upon any measure of fan interest for anyone under 50 years old.

Have you been to a game recently? There are a large amount of fans under the age of 50 at every game, I went to a game in Kansas City last month that had thousands of junior high and elementary age kids and they were loving every bit of it. I don't buy that a sport needs to undergo radical changes to peak fan interest of a certain age dynamic. 

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Just now, rwilfong86 said:

Have you been to a game recently? There are a large amount of fans under the age of 50 at every game, I went to a game in Kansas City last month that had thousands of junior high and elementary age kids and they were loving every bit of it. I don't buy that a sport needs to undergo radical changes to peak fan interest of a certain age dynamic. 

There are dozens of studies that show kids aren't into baseball and are migrating to other sports, anecdotal evidence of stadium attendance aside. Even Little League participation is dropping pretty much every year. The average age of a baseball fan is something like 15 years older than an NBA fan.

Every way you look at it, the sport is soon to go into decline, if it isn't there already. Just google it, you'll find loads of information on the subject and every indicator points to baseball being in serious trouble soon.

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Just now, Brock Beauchamp said:

You can do the math on this. Removing one commercial from each break shortens a game by at least nine minutes but probably not much more than that. I'll be generous and say the average game has four mid-inning pitcher replacements so we're now at 11 minutes.

The article mentions the pitch clock reducing game length by 24 minutes.

Commercials are not the problem.

How much time in commercials do you think exist between every half inning of baseball?

I have no problem with a pitch clock, don't get me wrong. My comment on the first post was about adding a 2 minute plate appearance clock. 

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1 minute ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

There are dozens of studies that show kids aren't into baseball and are migrating to other sports, anecdotal evidence of stadium attendance aside. Even Little League participation is dropping pretty much every year. The average age of a baseball fan is something like 15 years older than an NBA fan.

Every way you look at it, the sport is soon to go into decline, if it isn't there already. Just google it, you'll find loads of information on the subject and every indicator points to baseball being in serious trouble soon.

There are other things baseball can do to keep and attract fans without completely changing the game, again I am not against pitch clocks so don't misconstrue what I am saying. Ending blackouts would go a long way to boost fan viewership for many fans, I know people in places in Iowa who have like 6 teams blacked out and where I live in Kansas blackouts prevent me from watching the Royals, Cardinals, Astros, and Rangers (but I can watch the Rockies and Twins which are closer than the Texas teams!). This goes back to my previous statement about baseball selling it's soul for TV revenue. 

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19 minutes ago, rwilfong86 said:

In your opinion. I'm not saying that is the only reason, but a major reason. Watching a game on TV is becoming more and more tedious. 

 

It's part of it, but it's not even close to what is happening on the field.  I agree with you that it's tedious to watch, but that's because the announcers have to do more and more to keep a game watchable than they ever have before.  Growing up I don't recall Gordon and Carneal having to talk as much as Gladden and Provus do.  They are verbally tap dancing constantly while inaction happens on the field.

That's the real problem.

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Old-Timey Member
1 minute ago, rwilfong86 said:

There are other things baseball can do to keep and attract fans without completely changing the game, again I am not against pitch clocks so don't misconstrue what I am saying. Ending blackouts would go a long way to boost fan viewership for many fans, I know people in places in Iowa who have like 6 teams blacked out and where I live in Kansas blackouts prevent me from watching the Royals, Cardinals, Astros, and Rangers (but I can watch the Rockies and Twins which are closer than the Texas teams!). This goes back to my previous statement about baseball selling it's soul for TV revenue. 

I won't disagree about the way the league has sold it's soul to TV, it's baseball's biggest sin IMO.  That said, I know kids who enjoy playing the game who have absolutely no interest in MLB.  The product is unwatchable for them and far easier to just catch highlights later.  

Any business that ignores the interest level of future paying customers is almost doomed to fail, but sports especially.

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1 minute ago, TheLeviathan said:

It's part of it, but it's not even close to what is happening on the field.  I agree with you that it's tedious to watch, but that's because the announcers have to do more and more to keep a game watchable than they ever have before.  Growing up I don't recall Gordon and Carneal having to talk as much as Gladden and Provus do.  They are verbally tap dancing constantly while inaction happens on the field.

That's the real problem.

A good example of that is last night Bally had Latroy and Dick and Audra in the booth eating Reese's peanut butter cup barbecue. Nothing more entertaining than seeing grown adults making a horrible mess on live tv. 😐

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3 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

I won't disagree about the way the league has sold it's soul to TV, it's baseball's biggest sin IMO.  That said, I know kids who enjoy playing the game who have absolutely no interest in MLB.  The product is unwatchable for them and far easier to just catch highlights later.  

Any business that ignores the interest level of future paying customers is almost doomed to fail, but sports especially.

And I absolutely agree with you on that. I'm 36 years old and I grew up loving the game and many of my fondest childhood memories revolve around baseball in some way or another. I am of the fan genre that wants to keep the game as nostalgic as possible because it has such a soft spot in my memories but I understand that there do need to be changes with the way the game is played and marketed. 

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Old-Timey Member
9 minutes ago, rwilfong86 said:

A good example of that is last night Bally had Latroy and Dick and Audra in the booth eating Reese's peanut butter cup barbecue. Nothing more entertaining than seeing grown adults making a horrible mess on live tv. 😐

Exactly.  These kinds of gimmicks are necessary because Joey TwoOutcomes just adjusted his cup for the 18th time since the count moved from 1-0 to 1-1.  And now Johnny FutureElbowTear just paced around the mound for a minute and a half before the next pitch was thrown.

Screw these guys.  Hockey players don't get to call timeout and diagnose the passing lanes.  Kirk Cousins doesn't get to call timeout before he's sacked so he can read the defense.

Sports are supposed to be fast paced and push the athletes.  Baseball wants to pretend they're solving world hunger between every at-bat with their super cerebraly brains.

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