Baseball in 2023 looks much different than ever before. MLB has instituted new rules for this season, with the most controversial topic of all being the pitch clock.
So far during spring training, the evidence is quite clear that it’s doing what the league hoped it would. Games are 20-30 minutes shorter, there are more balls in play, more attempts to steal bases, and about the same number of runs are being scored. It hasn’t come without some growing pains, like games ending on a pitch clock violation.
The pitch clock has been around in the minor leagues for several years, but it’s different in the majors. Mets manager Buck Showalter talked about the impact this rule change has had on the game so far on The Adam Jones podcast.
He mentioned it’s different because big-league ballplayers are a different breed. Instead of simply following the rules, they’re also looking for loopholes. They’re trying to exploit these new rules to their advantage as much as possible.
Jones, a five-time All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles, said he didn’t mind the clock through the first few innings of games. But when it got into the later innings? He doesn’t like it as much because as a hitter, he needed to assess the situation.
Buck agreed and shared an idea of his to eventually modify the pitch clock. Here’s the full interview (but the video will start when the pitch-clock discussion starts):
I can get on board with eliminating it in the eighth and ninth innings. Every pitch matters, but the result of late-and-close situations is what everyone talks about the next day. When there’s a lot of drama between pitches, one would imagine that fans are OK with the game slowing down a smidge.
That’s part of the reason why many don’t like the extra-inning ghost runner rule. Everyone can see the benefits of it for the players. But why not have one or two innings after regulation be just like the others before putting the ghost runner on second?
We can assume there will be some kind of tweak or multiple tweaks to hit a happy medium. The pitch clock may not be completely eliminated late in games, but we could see a few more seconds added on.
I mean, just think about how this will impact late-game pitcher-hitter matchups during the postseason. MLB is probably banking on everyone adjusting by then, but we’ll see what happens. It’s definitely improved the viewing experience. However, the league also needs to figure out what works best for the guys operating under the new rules.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.