Baseball doesn’t need to be faster

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Nowadays, if you take the time to sit down and watch a baseball game, you inevitably hear the announcers discussing the pace of the game, often criticizing games for taking too long and arguing over the best method to speed up the game. As our world has gotten ever faster, with information and news at our fingertips, the magic of sitting and watching an entire baseball game seems to have wavered for many viewers.

Over the past few seasons, Major League Baseball has implemented a slew of rules to try and speed up the time of play in baseball games, under what seems like increasing pressure to take away what people view as “dead time” where nothing is happening during games. These changes have included the no-pitch intentional walks and limiting teams to two-and-a-half minutes between innings and pitching changes.

While these small game changes may shave a few minutes here or there off the total game time, there’s no changing the fact that baseball is a long and slow game. And that’s okay.

Baseball, unlike basketball and football, has no game clock. In my opinion, that’s one of the beauties of the game. It’s a slow sport.

Instead of trying to become something it’s not, the MLB should embrace the fact that it is a sport unlike any other. It should focus on continuing to cultivate the excitement around its new young players instead of trying to make the game a few minutes faster.

The biggest star in baseball, Aaron Judge, for example, turned down multiple offers from Notre Dame and UCLA to play football and instead chose to play baseball at Fresno State. It is players like this who speak to the magic of the game. Baseball still has incredible appeal to athletes and fans regardless of how fast the game is.

Even if the league did implement a pitch clock, the new style of game management would neutralize any significant changes to the total time of the game. Starting pitchers rarely work deep into games anymore resulting in more pitching changes per game. Every team in the league has a roster full of relief pitchers and almost all successful teams are built around a strong bullpen that is expected to carry a team sometimes up to five innings.

Utilizing more relief pitchers means the game will take longer as managers often bring in pitchers to face only one batter. There is no manager in the MLB right now who would change this strategy and risk their starters’ arms simply to speed up the game.

The last reason I think it’s wrong to try to speed up the game of baseball is simple. Just because the attention span of some people is small doesn’t mean the sport should cater to those viewers and risk hurting the integrity of the game.

A true baseball fan doesn’t want the game to be rushed. Either you enjoy taking the time to watch a baseball game or you shouldn’t bother. A baseball game is entertaining because of the small intricacies: a hitter working the count or a pitcher coming into face one batter. The best parts about baseball take time. The bottom line is baseball doesn’t need to try to be something that it isn’t.

The beauty of the game is in its pace.

Graham Griffin covers women’s golf. Contact her at [email protected].