Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi report that, if the owners have their way, the pitch clock is coming to Double-A and Triple-A games in 2015. It will not, however, come to the major leagues. Not yet anyway.
This is the result of baseball’s experimenting with rules to speed up the pace-of-play during this past Arizona Fall League season. The pitch clock, the most notable of these innovations, was a physical clock on the wall behind the plate, in the outfield and in the dugout which stipulated that a pitcher had 20 seconds between pitches to get the ball back, get his sign from the catcher, and begin his delivery.
The report also says that the owners would propose a rule for Double-A and Triple-A which would require batters to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box between pitches.
For the rule to take effect, the owners have to vote to adopt it, which this report from Rosenthal and Morosi says they are poised to do. Then it must be approved by the MLBPA. Given how significant a change this is, the decision to start only in the minor leagues likely improves the chances of the union’s approval, inasmuch as its members will not, for the most part, be subject to it.
It’s also probably a smart way to roll such a thing out. A handful of games in the Arizona Fall League are likely not enough in which to iron out the wrinkles a pitch clock is likely to create in the fabric of the game. Better to have early mistakes and tweaks made in minor league games than major league games. And it’s more likely players would not oppose it coming to the major leagues at a later date if they see that, for a year or two, it worked just fine in the minors. Were it not for the the technical constraints involved, they likely would’ve done replay like this too.
I’m very curious to see how this works. Assuming, of course, it happens at all.