Friday, January 18, 2019

Pitch Clock Still Possible For 2019 Season—Not Curbs On Defensive Shifts

According to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, Major League Baseball is still seriously considering implementing a pitch clock for the 2019 season. Team owners, via the authority of Commissioner Rob Manfred, have the ability to unilaterally implement a pitch clock—without consulting the players union. However, Manfred has reached out to the union—and, in fact, the players' concerns forced him to punt on the pitch clock idea last season. Any changes to defensive shifts would need approval of the union—so that change is unlikely for 2019. The proposed pitch clock would run 18 seconds when the bases are empty—and be goosed up to 20 seconds with runners on base. Despite the success seen in the minor leagues with a pitch clock, it seems to us that the marginal improvement in "pace of play" is not worth such a radical change. We understand the desire to pick up the pace of MLB games to appeal to younger audiences—but this seems a bridge too far. We hope the commissioner punts again on this move.