Freddie Freeman News: Dodgers All-Star Not Concerned Over New Pitch Clock
Beginning in 2023, MLB will be implementing a pitch clock for the first time ever at the big-league level. Pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with no one on base, or 20 seconds with no one on base. If a pitcher takes too long, a ball will be assessed to the count; if a hitter takes too long getting in the batter’s box, a strike will be assesed. There are a lot of little nuances, but that’s the basic gist of the rule.
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman was asked about the pitch clock at FanFest on Saturday, and he seems to like the idea, or at least not hate it.
“I get in pretty quickly, so I don’t have to really worry about the pitch clock or anything like that. But there’s guys that, I’m excited that the pitch clock is coming in. There’s a few guys that take a long time. There’s a few guys — I’m not gonna name names — that take a long time getting in, but I do understand, I mean, we’re baseball purists, but I love the game of baseball. I don’t care if it takes four hours or whatever. Right. I just love the game. But I do understand there’s not a lot of action sometimes and, you know, we want a lot of fans to come and watch. It’s an entertainment product. Yes. And I get it. So maybe a little bit quicker will help, but I don’t care if the game takes four hours.”
Every baseball fan would love to see four hours of baseball. But what we currently have is two hours of baseball stretched out to three hours or more. There’s no more or less baseball action than there was 40 years ago, when the average game was about 40 minutes shorter than it is now. Even commercial breaks, which people love to blame for the increased game time, is relatively inconsequential. By far, the biggest difference between 1982 and 2022 was the dead time between pitches.
And while Freddie says the perfunctory “I love baseball, I don’t mind a long game” line, I suspect if he were given truth serum, he’d tell you if they could play the same amount of baseball but he could be home and in bed 40 minutes earlier every night, he would love that idea.
That’s the goal with the pitch clock, and the results in the minor leagues, where various versions have been implemented over the last several years, have been overwhelmingly positive. It will be a big change for some of the slower pitchers (like former LA closer Kenley Jansen, who averaged 26.1 seconds between pitches with the bases empty last year), and we’ll almost definitely hear some pitcher blame the pitch clock for an injury he suffers early this season.
But it will be good for baseball. Baseball is perfect and wonderful, but it was at least as perfect and wonderful back when games averaged 2:30 instead of 3:10. All the pitch clock does is enforce rules that have been in the book forever about the time between pitches. That’s a wonderful, beautiful thing.
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What hitter or base runner would complain about a pitch clock? Pitchers will have to adjust and expend the same effort over a shorter time span. To negate that they will need to be more efficient and reduce pitch count by being more aggressive in the strike zone. Less time more action equals wins for fans, offense, and position player offense. Bad for geriatric pitchers.