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The pitch clock is a good thing for the Astros and MLB

CRPerry13 shares his opinion on why a pitch clock would be good for Major League Baseball.

Mark Appel certainly hasn't been affected by the pitch clock.  He's allowed zero runs during the AFL season to-date
Mark Appel certainly hasn't been affected by the pitch clock. He's allowed zero runs during the AFL season to-date
Scott Halleran

The Arizona Fall League is experimenting with using pitch clocks to speed up the pace of the game.  With it, pitchers have a 20-second timer in which to make their pitch.  When Salt River played Glendale on October 16th, the entire game took two hours and twenty-eight minutes to complete.  Some noted that the pitchers looked like they might be rushing a bit, but that might be only by comparison to typical games, since only two of the eleven pitchers in the game allowed any runs to score.  During Mark Appel's turn with the clock, it seemed to affect him not one whit (or maybe it helped him?) as he has yet to allow a run during this AFL season.

Baseball traditionalists and some fans argue that use of a time-keeper is un-baseball-like.  Understood, but I'm actually okay with that, especially in today's lower run-scoring environment.  TCB reader wannabekillerb writes about that perspective in this excellent fan post, and describes a possible affect that a pitch clock might have on the game play itself.

I understand the concern of those fans, but I don't agree with their conclusion.

Baseball is in trouble.  Not in the short term, and it's in no danger of going away in the distant future.  But it is in jeopardy of approaching hockey-level fan irrelevance, regardless of how lined the pockets of ownership become because of their regional sports networks and revenue sharing.  Baseball is more lucrative than ever, but it is not more popular.  Care to guess what the ratings will be for a KC Royals vs. SF Giants World Series?  Pretty low.  The World Series used to be something that everybody in the country watched, like the Superbowl is today.  Pardon, "the Big Game."

My opinion is that baseball's decline in popularity has everything to do with the pace of the game.  I'm in favor of the pitch clock because I think casual fans will be more likely to watch a game of ball if they aren't being bored to death by:

* Batter adjusting everything

* Stare in for signs

* Shake off signs

* Stare in for more signs

* Get set

* Check the runner

* Get set

* Batter steps out; readjusts batting gloves

* Play with rosin bag

* New set of signs (shake off, etc)

* Get set

* Check the runner

* Get set

* Throw to first (repeat several times)

* Get signs

* shake off signs

* Get set

* Deliver pitch

* Foul ball

* repeat

Sometimes when writing game recaps during the 2014 season I wanted to throw a poodle through my TV because one inning would last 45 minutes or more on a work night.  I LOVE baseball, and I felt like that was interminable.  A pitch clock to prevent the nonsense bulleted above won't change anything fundamentally meaningful at all.  Perhaps there will be an impact on baserunning, as wannabekillerb suggests.  If it happens (and I'm taking a wait-and-see approach on that) I'm okay with that too, considering today's lower run-scoring environment and tighter strike zones.

There's plenty of evidence showing that games have become longer over time, particularly during the past decade.  I would LOVE to see games come back down to around 2-1/2 hours.  It will speed up the action without changing anything that will have a significant impact on the game play itself, and it should bring more fans back to the game and increase the enjoyment of those of us who watch on a daily basis.