The new rules set for the upcoming MLB season are sure to change baseball forever, and the most impactful change will undoubtedly be the introduction of the pitch clock. Twenty seconds maximum between each pitch. Games are flying by, and with pace-of-play being an enormous talking point surrounding Major League Baseball in recent years, it’s a much-welcome change.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be any growing pains though.
Yes, baseball oldheads’ worst fears are coming to fruition as a spring training game was potentially determined by a pitch clock violation. By rule, the batter must be looking at the pitcher, ready to take a hack by the time eight seconds are left on the clock. In the video, Braves’ second baseman Cal Conley took too long getting set up for the pitch and was given a strike, the final strike of his at-bat and the final strike of the inning. Bases loaded, two outs, and the final pitch never even had to be thrown. Yeah, I can understand how that would make some people upset. At the same time, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to understand that this probably won’t be a common occurrence once the season rolls around.
Players will have to adjust
It’s a new change! It’s going to take some time for people to get used to it, especially the guys who get paid to play this game that they’ve played a certain way their entire lives. They’ve got one month to adjust to the new pace-of-play terms, and guess what? In all likelihood, that’s going to be plenty of time.
It may not seem like players will be able to adjust so quickly given how frequently we’ve seen pitch clock violations in these early games, but as we see more of them, the more aware the players will become of these violations as well. Odds are they won’t want to have the bat taken out of their hands again, and they’ll work on adjusting to the new timing accordingly.
By the time the regular season comes around, players will have settled into a routine during at-bats that can get them in and out of a batter’s box in twelve seconds or less. I know baseball players are a superstitious lot who love to undergo rituals between pitches, prior to at-bats, and even during games, but that’s the nice thing about superstitions, they’re fickle. They can be changed. The same guy who wears a golden thong to help break a hitting slump is just as likely to remove said thong when their struggles return a few weeks later.
Lastly, it’s still spring training. If this rule were altering the outcomes of games that actually mattered, I could understand getting upset, but these games literally don’t matter! If there was any time for your team to lose games due to this new rule it’s now. And lo and behold, now the entire organization will be more aware of the rule moving forward. Spring training is meant to be a time for players to re-enter the baseball world, get back in the swing of things, and adjust to any changes. This is a pretty big change, but it’s not as game-breaking as some people believe or this video would imply. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some bad instances of this rule when the season comes around, and I’m sure people will cherry-pick those clips to show how detrimental the pitch clock is to the game when that happens, but they won’t happen nearly as often as we’re currently seeing. Call me Men’s Warehouse, because I guarantee it.