Why the new ‘Pitch Clock’ hurts fans at baseball games

Written by Stratton Sims

Alpha Media Intern

I attended my first college baseball game yesterday which served as my first glimpse of the new game, given the new implemented rules of the pitch clock.

Sitting upon the multiple fans spread out at Rip Griffin Park, home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, I found myself in the midst of what seemed like a completely new game. Thanks to the NCAA’s new ‘action clock’ I was able to attend a game which served a crucial turning point against a talented, unranked TCU baseball program in what seemed like the quietest crowd in Texas.

The new ‘action clock’ implemented by the NCAA now requires pitchers to start the motion of throwing a pitch or making a pickoff throw with runners on base, to avoid a clock violation
which runs on a 20-second countdown. According to the NCAA and the new governing rule, pitchers are allowed to take one step-off or fake throw to a base holding a runner, in order to reset the action clock.
If the 20-second clock expires before a pitch is thrown or a pickoff throw has been made, a ball will be added to the current count against the batter being faced.

This rule is also implemented on the offensive side of baseball, as batters must be present within the batters box within those 20 seconds, in order to allow the pitcher to make his throwing motion within the given amount of time on the clock. If the hitter fails to do so, a strike will be added to the count involving the current batter in the box. Although this new ‘pitch’ or ‘action’ clock can be very beneficial in the aspect of the overall
pace and time of baseball games, it takes out a crucial part of the game.

From intense stare-downs between pitchers and hitters all the way to batters taking their time as they might find themselves in their last at bat of the season, the action clock has taken the drama out of the game.
Even fans lose their ability to hoot and holler as the time between pitches has crunched so much, nothing can be celebrated or debated amongst fans at the games.

Baseball games always held the fun sound effects that we hear from movies or at times even catchy themed music which is directed at times at players or coaches, giving a comical side to the game.
But with the new action clock put into play, fans now sit at games in silence due to the ample time there is to cheer for the teams on the field. For a game being played at one of the more spirited universities found in Texas, very little
expression was given by fans due to the little time there is in between pitches.

Although this new rule may very well improve the pace of play with the game of baseball, repercussions may arise when it comes time for championship baseball in Omaha. With teams facing off in the biggest games of their seasons, it will be very interesting to see how players and fans handle the pressure of championship baseball, especially with only 20 seconds to make a pitch.

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