Introduction of the Pitch Clock
Recently, I was watching an episode of the ever popular sports news program SportsCenter, and baseball broadcaster Tim Kurkjian brought up the idea of a “pitch clock” that could be implemented into Major League Baseball games in the not so distant future. This “pitch clock” would basically serve sort of like a shot clock in basketball where the pitcher has a certain amount of time to deliver a pitch or else a particular designated penalty will be handed out. If implemented, as said on SportsCenter, this pitch clock will hopefully speed up the game a little more, as well as take away some of the slower portions of the game; such as pitchers taking their time to throw the next pitch. As of now, the “pitch clock” is currently being tested out throughout the Double and Triple A levels of baseball and can soon make it’s way up to the majors.
Honestly, I am not a very big fan of this idea. For one, I just enjoy a day at the ballpark with friends and family; I do not see any need to speed up the game in that fashion. Adding to this, when the game gets down to the wire in the 8th and the 9th, there’s just that tense feeling throughout the ballpark that brings the fans to their feet; nervous about what may happen next. This shouldn’t be taken away with the use of a pitch clock; then it’s just one more damn thing to worry about. Now, instead of the pitcher deciding on what to throw and where to throw in the tense situation, he now needs to make that decision in a quicker amount of time. In my opinion, it will just add even more stress to any situation, as well as add possibly more time to the game if the clock and the instant replay start to intertwine with each other.
With the introduction of the instant replay, baseball wanted to make sure that they made crucial calls correctly when they were needed the most. So far, it seems that they are doing a relatively good job with the speed in which they check the monitor for the calls; (even though I still do not agree with instant replays in baseball, but that’s a different story for a different time and I digress). But, with the pitch clock, you are basically adding another entity of the game to worry about. Now, there needs to be an eye on the clock all of the time, as well as eyes on the field of play. The biggest thing about this though would be if the instant replay and the pitch clock start to intertwine with each other; such as if a pitcher possibly does not get a pitch off in time and it needs to be checked with the instant replay. With that, the MLB is now just adding another reason to use instant replay, as well as inadvertently adding more time to the game in the process as well. So, with that in mind, Major League Baseball will need to plan this out, test it, and think long and hard on how they will want to adopt this idea into their game.
When first thinking about this, I honestly though that this would be a great idea to speed the game up; less time between pitches, more action in the game, and so on and so forth. But, when thinking about it more, this idea is basically changing baseball into something that I was fearing for years; a technological sport. First there is the instant replay, then there is the pitch clock; what’s next, no more umpires? A camera that calls balls and strikes with accurate precision? You’re basically taking a game that was built on human error and making it an animatronicly precise game that shows little resemblance of the game we all grew up to love. No more conflict, no more emotion, no more drama, just a bunch of highly paid people going through the motions and sitting back down when they come off of the field.