Friday, May 28, 2010

"Play Clocks" for SEC Baseball Tournament: Good or Bad?

For this year's tournament, the SEC decided to try out a novel way to speed up games: pitch clocks and between-innings clocks similar to the football play clock. Here are the basics:

- When no runners are on base, pitchers get 20 seconds between pitches.
- If the clock runs down before a pitch is thrown, a ball is added to the batter's count.
- If a batter steps out of the box with 5 seconds or fewer before the clock runs out, a strike is added to his count.
- The clock is turned off when there are runners on base.
- Teams have 1 minute 48 seconds to start a half-inning after the end of the previous one.
- If the half-inning clock runs out, a ball or strike is added to start the first batter's count, according to whichever team was at fault in delaying the start of the inning.

The idea is to speed up games both to keep fans interested and to avoid the problem of having games going past midnight. Tim Corbin doesn't see it being much of a factor and is in favor; most other SEC coaches seem to agree.

I like the move and would be in favor of some experimentation with variations on it. I definitely see some potential problems cropping up though: for example, how subjective is the time when the clock starts? And isn't it weird to think that some hitter who steps out of the box after the pitcher has stood still for 15 seconds could strike out without a pitch even being thrown? And should the between-innings rule be adjusted for catchers who are on base when the third out is made (given that it takes them longer to get their gear on)?

A friend of mine who's a former member of the Alabama baseball team had this to say about the clock system:

I am in favor of anything that speeds up the tournament. I remember one year we were playing the last game of Day 1 scheduled to start around 8pm. We started playing somewhere around 10:15p. Not to mention the loser of the late game on day 1 has to turn around and play a morning losers bracket game on Day 2.

With that said, I think the issue with time is not so much between pitches but having to stand around between every inning while you wait for TV to get out of commercial.

We want to hear your thoughts about the system being experimented with: yay or nay?

Be sure to tune in for the Dores-Gators elimination game later today. Game time TBA following Auburn-Ole Miss which starts at 3pm...

1 comment:

Bobby O'Shea said...

That baseball is leisurely doesn't mean it has to be slow. I think this is a very good innovation and should be embraced for college, minor league, and major league baseball games. For those of you voting no in any way, what are your concerns/problems with the pitch clock?