The ticking clock: How the pitch clock is changing baseball


Minda Haas via Wikipedia

The newly implemented pitch clock being used in a minor league baseball game.

Ike Swanson, Business Manager

It is no mystery that American’s attention spans are growing shorter by the day as technology evolves. This trend is largely due to the current technology and the accessibility of quick media like Tiktok and Instagram Reels. 

However, this smaller attention span isn’t exclusive to the technology we consume. It has grown out into the sports world now as well. America was once a country captivated by the sport of baseball, but now football is the American staple for sports. With constant action, big plays, and bone crushing collisions, football quickly captured the attention of sports fans in America. 

What happened to America’s pastime of enjoying a hot dog on a nice summer day at the ballpark? These days have simply passed, and this ideal scenario is no longer a popular fantasy for many Americans. Instead, people would rather see the fast moving game of football. 

Former Virginia baseball closing pitcher and Twitter baseball influencer, Stephen Schoch, believes it is more than just the decreasing attention span. “I acknowledge attention spans are shorter these days, but I feel that is just because the world moves faster than it used to. No one wants to unplug and unwind anymore because everyone is afraid they may miss something,” Schoch shared.

In a fast paced world, a game of “obscure” strategies and “complexity” must change in order to continue to flourish. The main problem steering fans away from baseball lies in its long duration. The average MLB game is around three hours and ten minutes, with many games exceeding that mark due to extra innings.

The plan to shorten the game time is implementing a pitch clock in MLB and NCAA games. This adds a timed element to a game that has otherwise been known for not involving time. This addition of a timer has caused a dispute in the baseball community.

Schoch, a pitcher himself, has a strong opinion on the pitch clock and its effects on the game. “I do believe that the pitch clock removes a lot of different strategies for pitchers that I personally was a huge fan of,” he says. 

This is also true for hitters who are rushed back into the box due to the clock. There is little to no time for a batter to take a deep breath and regather themselves following a pitch. 

On the other hand, the pitch clock has been effective in shortening the times of games. Through a test run in the minor leagues, it was reported that the pitch clock helped reduce the average length of games by 25 minutes. “I personally don’t enjoy sitting down and watching a baseball game,” says senior athlete Holden Willett. “But with the shortened time, I think I’d consider giving it a try.”

The pitch clock comes as a bit of a shame to the die-hard baseball fan with its elimination of minute strategies and details of the game that were previously adored. But, it is a price that the more intense fan should be willing to pay, explains Schoch, “The game needs to adapt to survive and if that means I lose out on some parts I love then so be it.”

At the end of the day, the pitch clock is effective at shortening the length of baseball games which, in turn, will hopefully help lead casual fans back into the sport. It is a market that baseball as a whole is looking to acquire in order to keep their sport alive.