The case for a pitch clock in MLB

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DCTribefan

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With games getting longer, not shorter, further experimentation is likely coming to MLB. One option that's showing promise in the minors? A pitch clock.

  • The intrigue: Since implementing a 15-second pitch clock in June, Low-A West, a minor league four levels below MLB, has seen its average game decrease by 21 minutes.
  • Even better: Runs and homers are up, while walks and strikeouts are down — perhaps because players stay in better rhythm when they're not constantly stepping off the rubber or adjusting batting gloves.
What they're saying: "At first, I'd say I was skeptical," Low-A manager and former big leaguer Rico Brogna told The Athletic (subscription). "But I have been shocked ... it has been a really, really good addition."
 

Criznit

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I LIKE the idea of a pitch clock. I have honestly gotten annoyed with some of these players pre-pitch/pre-swing rituals. The right batter with right BP guy on the mound is some of the slowest baseball imaginable.
 

CATS44

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Its not only baseball, its just about everything.

The obvious answer to a problem is the one answer that everyone avoids.

One of the charms of baseball is that it doesn't have a time clock like other major sports have. A game isn't over until it runs its course of nine innings or the last at bat in extra innings.

But putting a time clock on both the pitcher and the batter wouldn't change that. Pitchers don't need to fiddle around for 30 seconds on the mound. Batters don't need to step out of the box, adjust their batting gloves, helmet, elbow pads, and take five practice swings.

Some of these guys are worse than seven year olds in coach pitch who couldn't keep their shoes tied, and had to get somebody to tie them.
 

thestatman

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Pitch clock is an excellent idea. The only better idea is an electronic strike zone. In today's high tech world. there is no need for 10-15 blown calls each and every game. And yes, these blown calls make a difference in the outcomes. No excuse not to change the way balls and strikes are called.
 

KluberSociety

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Pitch clock is an excellent idea. The only better idea is an electronic strike zone. In today's high tech world. there is no need for 10-15 blown calls each and every game. And yes, these blown calls make a difference in the outcomes. No excuse not to change the way balls and strikes are called.
What would you propose the shape be of an electronic strike zone? Just asking because the distribution of called strikes is such that the strike zone isn't an actual rectangle (if it's both on the inside/outside edge and the high/low edge it's less likely to be called a strike).

Calling these corner pitch strikes would basically create an artificial strike zone like never seen before. I guess you could consistently call strikes with "rounded corners", but I don't have much of an opinion one way or the other. I actually like the idea of pitchers getting rewarded for hitting a corner on both the horizontal and vertical axes.

strikezone2.png
 

thestatman

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What would you propose the shape be of an electronic strike zone? Just asking because the distribution of called strikes is such that the strike zone isn't an actual rectangle (if it's both on the inside/outside edge and the high/low edge it's less likely to be called a strike).

Calling these corner pitch strikes would basically create an artificial strike zone like never seen before. I guess you could consistently call strikes with "rounded corners", but I don't have much of an opinion one way or the other. I actually like the idea of pitchers getting rewarded for hitting a corner on both the horizontal and vertical axes.

strikezone2.png
 

thestatman

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I dont understand what you are asking. The strike zone has never had rounded off corners. The strike zone has always been rectangular. Computers can also measure areas from knees to the letters. ESZ has already been successfully used in the low minors.
 

KluberSociety

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I dont understand what you are asking. The strike zone has never had rounded off corners. The strike zone has always been rectangular. Computers can also measure areas from knees to the letters. ESZ has already been successfully used in the low minors.
In practice it has always been anything but rectangular. If you want to keep things closest to the way they have been, while at the same time making things "consistent" you'd end up with strike zones with rounded corners on them.
 

thestatman

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In practice it has always been anything but rectangular. If you want to keep things closest to the way they have been, while at the same time making things "consistent" you'd end up with strike zones with rounded corners on them.
I dont necessarily agree with you here. But OK. The strike zone should be rectangular and with ESZ it would be. We agree on the "inconsistant" factor
 

Cassity14

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In practice it has always been anything but rectangular. If you want to keep things closest to the way they have been, while at the same time making things "consistent" you'd end up with strike zones with rounded corners on them.

I think one of the biggest perks of using an electronic zone is that bs like 'rounded corners' would go away, and the zone would be called exactly as the rules word it.
 

DaNewCavs

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I think one of the biggest perks of using an electronic zone is that bs like 'rounded corners' would go away, and the zone would be called exactly as the rules word it.

Exactly. With electronic strike zone they can make it a square, circle, octagon or a fucking trapezoid for all I care. As long as it's consistently the same, I don't think anyone would complain about the shape of the zone.
 

sportscoach

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Exactly. With electronic strike zone they can make it a square, circle, octagon or a fucking trapezoid for all I care. As long as it's consistently the same, I don't think anyone would complain about the shape of the zone.

There would go the framing metric stat out the window lol...

I dont like an electronic strike zone personally since I don't want to take all the human elements out of the game ya know?
 

KluberSociety

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I see a lot of "solutions" being brought up to "save baseball" lately.

It seems like they all are focused on this idea of "speeding the game up", i.e. turning it into something more like hockey or basketball. Hockey and basketball aren't even America's favorite sport to watch. That'd be football, with way more time between plays than baseball.

Baseball has always been a leisurely game and that has been its charm. People need to be charmed by it, and while I'm not against these a lot of these things I also don't see them as a solution.

My general ideas are focused elsewhere.

Little League is maybe the #1 key to the future success. If kids don't grow up playing baseball/softball, they are less likely to be interested in it. There's a bit of an opening with the recent (and justified) concerns about football and the effect on brains.

It has been said that "the most exciting play in baseball" is a triple. Baseball has recently sold out for the home run. The excitement of plays at home, players running around the bases, etc, is at an all-time low due to the growing irrelevance of those things in today's game. While people will blame "shifts" and "launch angle revolution" and such, there's ways to keep these interesting strategical aspects while at the same time seeing more balls in play. Yes I think a deader ball and/or deeper fences is one thing. I particularly like the latter, if we can somehow get fences moved back across the game. I do forsee it being difficult in places like Fenway but long term I think there needs to be an incentive to make this happen. More long exciting catches, more balls rattling around the wall, more triples, less overall devaluation of the single in favor of HRs (particularly the 350 foot pull variety). Singles are good, and relatable to most people who didn't consistently whack HRs in Little League or whatever level they made it to.

Do not only make an electric strike zone. Visualize it, emphasize the "darts" on the corners of both axes as a feat. Visualize movement like Pitching Ninja on Twitter. I could care less about catchers fooling the umpires into making bad calls. It's a human element that doesn't bring people to the stadium. Hockey and soccer fans love a good shot that makes it just into the corner of a rectangle. The awesome moments are about being excited about seeing exceptional performance demonstrated. We don't appreciate pitching enough.

However, pitchers now are just too good. Move the mound back a bit.
 
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