Major League Baseball’s new era officially begins with opening day Thursday, but baseball is already seeing the intended consequences.
According to ESPN, MLB games averaged 2 hours, 35 minutes this spring. Last year, regular-season games averaged 3:03. In addition, the pitch clock shaved off 26 minutes from the 2022 spring training average.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be great,” New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole told reporters after his first spring training start. “It’s faster; get home quicker. It’s going to be awesome.”
Implementation of the pitch clock, which had been adapted in the minor leagues in recent years, was agreed upon by the MLB and MLBPA this offseason. The clock is set at 15 seconds between pitches thrown. If there are any runners on base, the clock increases to 20 seconds.
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There will be in-game violations assessed if a pitcher or batter fails to be ready once the timer runs out. A pitcher will be accessed a ball if the clock runs out. Conversely, if a batter is not ready, they will be assessed a strike. Umpires will make the ruling after being notified by a buzzer.
While several players have expressed a similar sentiment similar to that of Cole, some players and managers are still concerned about the new rule. The issues could stem inside the batter’s box, where players must be ready with eight seconds left on the clock.
“Some guys are going to have to change their whole routines,” Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters via Sports Illustrated. “Getting used to the tempo of the game speeding up on them – that can be challenging.”