DOWN ON THE FARM
A pitch clock will make its debut in the majors in 2023. Here’s A Fan’s View of the pitch clock that has been part of the minor leagues.
By Steve Potter
There was a 14-second timer between pitches with no one on base and 18 seconds with a runner on base (19 seconds in Triple-A). Also, a 30-second timer between batters. If the pitcher failed to throw a pitch in time, it was an automatic ball. If a hitter wasn’t ready in time, it was an automatic strike. Each batter got one timeout per plate appearance, and pitchers got a total of two step-offs or pickoffs per batter. This rule was in effect throughout the entire full season minor leagues.
The pitch clock has been a huge success in this observer’s view. In general games were crisper and flowed better. There were still some elongated games, in particular those that were poorly played or when multiple pitchers were used but lengthy games became the exception rather than the norm. I’ve never bought into the opinion that pitchers or hitters need unlimited time to gather their thoughts — quite frankly if you’re thinking a long time in this game more often than not you’re gonna fail anyways — just sayin. 🤓.
I think the data shows that on average game times were reduced by a range of 20 to 30 minutes. There was an occasional dispute between players, managers and umpires and even game ejections — the ones we saw most were associated with an injury timeout — e.g. “discussions” about when should the clock start running again.
I didn’t think I would like the rule at first, but it made the game pace crisper, and you must be more attentive to watch and play — those two things are positives in my view, it’s a keeper.
(Steve Potter, a student of the game, is the author of www.philliesbaseballfan.com. Living in Clearwater, Steve follows the Phillies minor league system at Carpenter Field, BayCare Ballpark, online and streaming feeds; observing and interacting with managers, coaches, scouts, players and club officials).