With Bud Selig’s tenure as MLB commissioner coming to an end, he entered his final owners meetings looking to leave one last mark on baseball. By putting together a committee in September, Selig wanted to improve baseball’s play of pace.
The committee came up with a number of rules that looked to speed up the game and tested them during the Arizona Fall League. While any changes will have to wait on the Major League level, pitch clocks will be implemented in the Minor Leagues, according to MLB.com’s Paul Hagen:
With that in mind, pitch clocks will be introduced for Double-A and Triple-A games this season. Teams at those levels were notified of the decision on Wednesday, according to a source.
After being skeptical at first, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre appears pleased with the pitch clock’s results:
“I was never a proponent of introducing the clock in baseball, but I went out [to the Arizona Fall League] and I was pretty impressed,” said Torre. “[The clock] was there, but it really wasn’t intrusive in any way. I thought it was just something that was sort of part of what they were doing. I was very surprised that it really didn’t stand out to me, which is good. And yet it got the job done. And if you watched the players play, nobody seemed to be uncomfortable doing it. It just sort of picked the pace up of the game.”
Before any possible appearance in the Majors, the players will need to be on board with any changes. Although some may agree baseball needs to shorten their game lengths, asking players to change the way they have been accustomed to could come with some resistance. Pitchers have been known to take their time between pitches while batters partake in their own routines while at the plate. The committee also pushed for a rule which forced players to keep a foot within the batters box.
If the pitch clock is deemed a success in the Minor Leagues, the rule could be implemented in the Majors in the near future.