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Demilio: I Was Wrong About the Pitch Clock



Pittsburgh Pirates

I’m not sure anybody likes admitting when they are wrong, but I have no choice here.

For years, I was adamant about Major League Baseball not using a pitch clock. I felt baseball was the greatest game for a couple reasons, but one was because there was no clock.

It wasn’t like basketball, where you could dribble out the clock until there were zeroes on the scoreboard — or like football, where you could simply take a knee until time ran out.

I didn’t have a big issue with games taking three-plus hours. It’s baseball. The longer I get to watch, the happier I am. If I’m at the game, that’s fine too.

“I really hope they don’t add it,” I would tell people when they asked me about the possibility of there being a pitch clock one day.

Well, I was wrong. It’s made the game I have always loved even more enjoyable to watch.

The more and more whispers there were about the pitch clock getting implemented, the more and more open I was to it. However, I was still hesitant to it being added.

When I heard the rule would indeed be put in place, I thought to myself, “Let’s see how this plays out before I would form an opinion one way or another.”

When I watched spring training games last month, there was an obvious change and the more I watched, the more I grew to like it. It’s not even directly because games are taking approximately a half hour less to complete. That’s all fine and dandy, but there’s more to it.

The flow of the game has been great. Based off of old game footage I’ve watched, the pace is much more comparable to what it was like when my parents would watch baseball growing up in the 70s and 80s.

It’s all business. Get the ball, get the sign and fire it in there.

Outside of a few growing pains where there have been automatic strikes or balls called for violations, it hasn’t really disrupted any fundamental element of the game, which was one of the worries I had before seeing it in action.

In fact, the pitch clock and the other elements tied to pace of play have actually created even more strategy.

The disengagement rules, to me, are fascinating. How much will a pitcher and/or catcher gamble when a speedster is on the bases? At the same time, how much bigger of a lead will a runner take after each throw over knowing a battery can only keep them close to the bag for so long?

While I have been critical of commissioner Rob Manfred, kudos to him and everyone involved for implementing this positive change.

Everyone has adapted to it well. Sure the pitchers and hitters had to, but umpires have done a great job and third base coaches have been excellent in their sped-up process of relaying signs to their players.

There’s an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” What I was in denial about is that maybe baseball was broken. To the casual fan, I’m sure the change is even more welcomed.

The game has certainly changed, but sometimes, change is for the better. That’s the case here, at least in my opinion.

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