Extending MLB Pitch Clock For Playoffs Would Be a Big Mistake

Commissioner Rob Manfred can't give in to his whiny players

The pitch clock is seen behind a starting pitcher.
The pitch clock has been a revelation in MLB.
Jason Miller/Getty

Granted the ability to whine about anything and everything thanks to their all-powerful union, MLB players are already attempting to get Major League Baseball to alter a rule change that has revitalized baseball’s regular season when the postseason rolls around in October.

Nothing short of a revelation for a game that was in dire need of a shake-up, MLB’s pitch clock, which is set at 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on base, has slashed the average time of a nine-inning game in a major way. This season, the average time of a nine-inning game is two hours and 38 minutes, down from 3:04 last year and 3:09 in 2021, according to The Associated Press.

That has had a major impact on viewership and interest as MLB’s TV ratings are up and fans are headed back to the ballpark in most markets with in-game attendance pacing to be the highest since 2018. After a dire couple of seasons that included a bungled opportunity to be the only game in town during the first COVID-19 summer and a momentum-killing lockout last year, baseball is finally getting its groove back — and its players want to ruin it this postseason.

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Per MLB Players Union head Tony Clark, players want the time on the pitch clock extended during the playoffs so they will have added moments to collect themselves on the mound in the batter’s box.

“I don’t believe there’s any player, nor do I believe there are too many folks that want to have a new rule dramatically affect a game in a pennant chase or in the playoffs,” Clark said. “Players believe and we’ve been pretty consistent with this, that there are some adjustments that could be beneficial in the grand scheme of things so that we’re not having a conversation about a new rule and instead focused in on the game being played.”

With more than 2,000 games already played this season, there have been fewer than 800 clock violations, substantially less than one per game. Of the 721 recorded violations through July 4, 501 were by pitchers, 208 by batters and 12 by catchers. Meant to speed up baseball without disrupting game flow, the pitch clock is working and altering it for the playoffs would be a major blunder. Imagine giving NFL teams an extra timeout in the Super Bowl or playing a fifth quarter in the NBA Finals. It would be a joke. If he doesn’t want to be a laughingstock, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should not even consider changing a rule that has been in place all season and adding time on the pitch clock for the postseason.

“We’re going to continue to talk to the players,” Manfred said on Tuesday. “I think you ought to play the postseason the way you play the regular season. There’s exceptions. I’m open-minded on that topic.”

Big mistake.

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