Major League Baseball wants to institute a 14-second pitch clock with bases empty and a 19-second clock with runners on base, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The two numbers were established after experiments in the minor leagues, including in lower Class A in 2021, where playing times were cut by about 20 minutes. A 15/17-second clock was used there, but baseball determined that less time was needed for pitchers with the bases empty and more time with them occupied, according to sources, so it landed on 14/19.
The desire for a clock comes after years of increasing game times, culminating last season, where the average length of a nine-inning game was a record 3 hours, 10 minutes. That’s 20 minutes more than a decade ago when the average duration was 2:50 hours.
Games in low Class A in the west last year were down from 3:02 to 2:41 on the clock. There have been some mixed results with shot clocks at different levels of professional baseball, but the league believes it can only help accelerate major league product.
Rule changes have been a story during recent CBA collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the players’ union, though the sides have discussed various issues on the field over the past several years.
The sides continue to negotiate a new CBA with another round of talks scheduled for Sunday. The first two series of the 2022 regular season were canceled after owners locked out players in December when the last CBA expired.
The union agreed Sunday to a league request to change the amount of time needed to implement rule changes in three areas: a shot clock, the size of bases and defensive shifting. Previously, the league needed to give the union a year’s notice to make unilateral rule changes, but now it will only be required to give 45 days with those specific rules. The new timeline for rule changes will begin in 2023.
In the past, Major League Baseball players have expressed mixed feelings about the use of a shot clock, with many veterans opposing its use.
“I know as players, that’s something that MLB is trying to negotiate,” the union subcommittee member said. Max Scherzer in 2019. “I don’t think there’s any negotiation here. As players, it just shouldn’t be in the game. Having a shot clock, if it has implications on balls and strikes, that’s altering the structure of the game. There’s no clock in baseball , and there’s no clock in baseball for a reason.”
Recently, retired pitcher CC Sabathia had an opposing opinion.
“This is a time to make some fundamental changes to the game,” Sabathia said on his Ringer R2C2 podcast. “But the thing is, players are like most baseball purists, they don’t want me to change the game. Watching the f—— games we’ve been watching?”
Over the last 50 years, the length of a game has increased by 45 minutes, but 10 of those minutes have come since just 2017. Skipping the shortest pandemic season in 2020, games increased by five minutes in consecutive years, from 2016 to 2017 and then again from 2019 to 2021.
We would love to thank the author of this article for this incredible web content
Sources: MLB seeks to implement shot clock