The introduction of the MLB pitch clock has been an overall success this season, slashing games by minutes with only a few hiccups along the way. League players, however, want a change when the playoffs begin.
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the 2023 MLB All-Star Game that players don’t want to remove the shot clock in the playoffs, like the league is doing with the ghost runner. extra innings, but they would like to have extra time during games.
He said the players had communicated it to the league office.
From the Washington Post:
“Players who have been on the field committee and are new to the field committee have been consistent in that regard,” said Clark, who added that he “hopes” MLB can “make some adjustments” to the pitch clock, implying that a few extra seconds – rather than removing the clock entirely in October – would seem like an acceptable solution. He said the union had “represented” his suggestions to MLB and was pleased to see “the lines of communication are open.”
The idea was presented to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who objected while citing a desire to play playoff games the same as regular season games and noting that the rate of launch clock violations is within acceptable standards.
“Obviously we don’t want a post-season game to be decided on the basis of a violation,” Manfred said. “I understand that’s a possibility. As for doing something in the playoffs, making a change, we’re going to keep talking to the players. I still have a significant number of player meetings to do. I’m sure I’ll have a few conversations with Tony Clark about this.
“I would make two points. I do, in general – and there are exceptions to that, including the extra inning rule – in general, I think you should play the playoffs the same way you play the regular season. There are exceptions, okay? I am open-minded on this subject.
“And second, we’re comfortable with the way the clock and violations, particularly late in the game and the high leverage situations that we watch, have been handled.”
The pitch clock might be a hit right now, but Manfred is right that his potential to decide a playoff game could be a dagger hanging over MLB’s improved pace of play. However, given that the purpose of the clock was to make games more watchable, the idea of changing it for games that most people will watch also seems questionable.