There’s no clock in baseball, as we’ve heard innumerable times–but maybe there should be.
Baseball has already introduced a countdown clock for the between innings period, and word has it that the new timepieces have helped speed things up in the transitions from offense to defense and vice versa. But I for one think that’s not going quite far enough.
What each stadium should have, in addition to the between innings clock, is a prominently displayed Time of Game clock. The purpose would not be as an instrument of any sort of enforcement; the Time of Game clock would simply be there as a visual reminder to everyone on the field that, “Christ! We’ve been out here for two hours already and it’s only the fifth inning? Let’s step up the pace a bit.” Having a clock out there displaying how long it’s been since the first pitch might supply the sort of inducement that would get at least some players hustling a bit more through each at bat, pitching change, and between recorded outs.
And yes, I understand that there’s always a time of day clock visible in every stadium, and those on the field can look at it and do some quick mental math to figure out how long the game has run so far, but that’s an “opt-in” sort of thing; the need to do that math allows players to not pay attention to the elapsed game time. But if you have that Time of Game clock up there, putting it right out on front street that the game is already two and a half hours old, that is more likely to incentivize players (and umps) to hustle their asses a little more. Frankly, I don’t see how it can hurt.
Let’s see if we can push this suggestion around the internet, and hopefully encourage MLB to make this idea a reality.