Clock In Baseball

A clock in baseball? Really? I was reading an article about the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA instituting a play clock during their conference baseball tournament this past season.

At first glance I thought they were nuts. There's no play clock in baseball.

But then I read the article and it actually made some sense. What the SEC did was put a twenty second time limit between pitches. They also set a one minute and forty eight second time limit between innings.

I think I'd like these two play clocks in Major League Baseball. The games are getting much too long. I of course look forward to watching the playoffs and World Series. But here on the east coast, the games come on at 8:00 pm. That means the pre-game. Most of the time the game doesn't start until 8:25 or so.

So if the game takes an average of two hours and 52 minutes, which they did in 2009, it's going to be close to 11:30 when it's over.

Part of the problem are the commercials. They have so many commercials between innings that some times I forget what I was watching. Maybe instead of the game waiting until the commercials are over they should start doing what they used to do. Try to squeeze in a commercial or two before the inning starts.

I think a time limit between innings might be a good thing. Between pitches, too. Lets' see, the batter slowly walks up to the plate. Grabs some dirt, scratches the batter's box with his cleats, grabs his crotch and whatever other rituals he might have. Not to mention him stepping out of the box if the pitcher takes too long.

Speaking of the pitcher taking too long, how about this idea? Why not let the catcher call the pitches? This would really save some time. Instead of the catcher looking into the dugout between every pitch. The manager flashes a dozen signs back to the catcher. Then the catcher has to give a half dozen signs to the pitcher and by this time the batter steps out. Yikes!

I don't remember Johnny Bench looking into the dugout between pitches.

One more thing though. If they would put these time limits in place, who would keep track of the time. The umpire? I guess we could give him a stop watch. Or maybe the first base coach. They all have stop watches these days.

You know what, on second thought, we don't need clocks and time limits in baseball. If it takes nearly three hours to complete a baseball game, so be it. That's more to watch. Baseball is a leisurely game. Let's keep it that way.

Steve Ramer

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