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TCBB Thoughts on a Pitch Clock

shotclock The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee announced some recommendations for the 2011 season including a slight change to the obstruction rule. The major change is the fact that umpires will be enforcing a pitch clock during the season. The rules continues to be that the pitcher has to throw a pitch once every 20 seconds with no runners on base. The proposed rule will also make a 90 second time limit between innings for non-televised games while having a 108 second delay for televised games. Conferences could enforce the rules by putting up a pitch clock in the outfield. The changes still need to be approved by Playing Rules Oversight Panel at its August meeting but it is likely going to pass.

In the 2010 season, the SEC experimented with it during the conference tourney which saw game times cut down from three hours, 17 minutes in 2009 while this past season games averaged two hours, 43 minutes. I asked a couple of my writers and coaches across the country for what they think of the new rules. You can add your opinion in the comment section below.

Brian Foley, Editor, The College Baseball Blog

I don’t know how much it will end up making games shorter but the results from the 2010 SEC Tournament is encouraging. I have been to plenty of nine inning games that took four hours but also seen a 19 inning game that lasted only 4.5 hours. It should be interesting to see the results after one season to see how it affects the game.

Mark Rafferty, Assistant Editor, The College Baseball Blog

Its really not going to change much. Most pitchers in the second tournament were quoted as saying that the clock put them in a rhythm more than anything.

William Knox, Sr. Writer, The College Baseball Blog

The pitch clock in baseball shouldn’t exist. One of the basic parts of baseball is that the game is not determined by a time limit, but instead is over when one team has done its job by recording 27 outs (in most cases). There is no logical sense in adding a pitch clock when looked at from a baseball point of view, but it makes perfect sense from the television point of view. This is just another ploy to get more ad revenue out of televised sports, which is exactly what is happening in college football. The people that discussed and implemented the clock did not look at the game, but rather their wallets when discussing this matter. The game has already lost a lot of its purity, and a pitch clock will just further pollute the game.

Katherine Cornetta, Sr. Writer, The College Baseball Blog

I am on the fence about the pitch clock. I was raised by a father who despises the sport of baseball because of the length and tenure of games, and because pitchers seem to take their sweet time to prepare to pitch. (He’s also extremely anti the DH, but that’s another story for another day.) Anything to speed up the game is a benefit – especially considering that these are student-athletes that have (or at least should have) academic priorities – but I don’t think it will bring more viewers to the game. The most popular sport in America has 60 minute games that stretch four hours, so I don’t think the length of the game is really keeping fan development at bay.

Kyle Tait, WREK Sports Director and Georgia Tech Baseball Play by Play

This new mandate really doesn’t change much.  It’s basically requiring the enforcement of a rule that has already been in place for some time–that a pitcher has 20 seconds to throw a pitch with no runners on base.  There’s no change in rules here–it’s just required enforcement by the umpiring crew of an already-established rule.  I don’t know how much is really going to change unless the rules committee mandates that programs provide a visible clock in-stadium, similar to a play clock in football.

Jordan Wyckoff, Stony Brook Assistant Coach

I think its a non issue. The home plate ump can just as easily control pace of play by not letting guys step out, etc.

Ray Ricker, Associate Head Coach at Post University

I am all for anything that helps promote NCAA Baseball, but I do not think that a pitch clock is good for the game. The great thing about baseball is that there is not a clock. Games are long but I think it all has to do with metal bats, stepping out of the box, having the catcher go out to the mound and stall and a whole other list of things. Who is going to run the pitch clock? Do you have to pay another umpire? is it a work study kid? redshirt player? If you do that is a huge cost for a sport that is seeing programs get cut around the country. DII in the northeast is all wood and that has lead to two to two and a half hour games.

Eric Valenzuela, Pitching Coach at San Diego State

I stress to my pitchers about keeping a good tempo and work fast. Every pitcher is different. Some need an extra second or two to focus on the upcoming pitch and situation and some hop right back on that mound, gets the sign and goes! A lot has to do with us coaches calling/suggesting pitches and relaying it to the catcher. So we as pitching coaches need to also work fast and have a good tempo when relaying pitches to catchers. Lastly, our system seems to work and this rule should not effect the game very much.

  • Covey M

    As a father of a pitcher I don’t care much for the rule. I am curious when clock starts because a batter can slow the game down himself and force the pitcher to hurry up when batter finally gets set.
    It’s also hard to be for or against without knowing what the penalty will be for going over 20 seconds. Will this just be another way for an official to effect the outcome of a close game?

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