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MLB pitch clock change for 2024 season ‘should have warranted a much longer dialogue,’ union chief says

February 26th, 2024

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark said Saturday that the decision to decrease the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds came too soon.

“That’s a conversation that should have warranted a much longer dialogue than what we had,” Clark said via the Associated Press. “We voiced those concerns, players voiced those concerns, and yet, the push through of the change to the pitch clock still happened.”

As part of the new rules package for the 2023 season, a pitch clock was introduced, giving pitchers 15 seconds to begin their motion with bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on base.

The league’s competition committee, which includes six owners, four players and one umpire, gave approval in December to cut the time with runners on base to 18 seconds beginning with the 2024 season.

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Clark released a statement following the vote that the player representatives on the committee did not approve of the new rules, which also included a wider runner’s lane to first base and fewer mound visits per game.

“We just had the biggest adjustment this league has ever seen in regards to length of game and how the game was affected, by including a clock,” Clark said. “Rather than give us another year to adjust and adapt to it, why are we adjusting again, and what are the ramifications going to be?”

According to MLB, the rules package implemented for the 2023 season saw the average game time drop 24 minutes, to 2 hours, 40 minutes.

MLB pitch clock change for 2024 season ‘should have warranted a much longer dialogue,’ union chief says

The league’s competition committee approved in December cutting the time with runners on base to 18 seconds beginning in the 2024 season. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The league wanted to cut down the time between pitches with runners on base because of a rise in average game time over the course of last season. Game times averaged 2:37 in April but rose each month, finishing seven minutes longer with an average of 2:44 in September.

According to ESPN, 14% of the 1,094 pitch-clock violations occurred with runners on base, and pitchers, on average, began their motions with 6.5 seconds left on the 15-second clock and 7.3 seconds left on the 20-second clock.

Another factor in why the union is against the two-second decrease is recovery time for pitchers between pitches.

“When fatigue happens, you’re more susceptible to injury,” Clark said. “We’re seeing a lot of injuries, and we’re seeing them in a way that simply can’t remove the question of whether or not shortening recovery time is in anyone’s best interest.”

Clark has plenty on his plate this spring training beyond the pitch clock changes. He’s dealing with the Oakland A’s situation, the prospect of players participating in the 2028 Olympics and the player backlash regarding the new Fanatics-produced uniforms.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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