Angry Ward Wednesday: February is Dead and MLB’s Pitch Clock is Alive

Angry Ward, Meet-The-Matts, Suzyn Waldman, Patrick Kane, Max Scherzer, Rangers, Mets, Reggie Jackson, Google Alerts, Ward Calhoun, #GoogleAlerts
MLB's Pitch Clock gives Suzyn Waldman, Max Scherzer & Reggie Jackson more leisure time!

NEW YORK, NY – Today is March 1st, so let me begin by saying: HIP HIP HOORAY!!! February 2023 is, at long last, dead and buried. Does March still suck? Sure it does! But compared to February, it’s 31 straight days of Mardi Gras in the Caribbean on acid… with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models.

The good news is, baseball season is fast approaching. The better news is, I’ll soon be in warmer climes enjoying Spring Training. This past Sunday I had my own Spring Training for Spring Training by watching some of the Mets/Nats game from Port St. Lousy.

One thing stood out to me immediately.

I Like the Pitch Clock. MLB went a little nuts this offseason by changing up a bunch of stuff in the game including adding pizza box size bases and making John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman marry each other. But there was no bigger change than instituting the pitch clock. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about this but, after seeing it in action on Sunday, I think I’m really going to like it.

At the beginning, pitchers and catchers may hate the new pitch clock, but I think in the long term it will favor them. I’ll get to that in a second. The thing that immediately caught my attention was how deliberate the pitchers were and how fast the hitters (also on a clock) got into the batter’s box and took their hacks. Why on Earth did it have to come to this for baseball to get back to the way it was played when I grew up? As many people have said about the clock: Baseball did this to itself.

The past few decades have been increasingly dominated by signals from upstairs to signals from the bench to multiple pitcher/catcher conferences to hitters d!cking around before getting in the box to constant situational pitching changes (remedied a bit with recent rules changes) to bat flips and slow home run trots to zzzzzzz. Look, I got a news flash for you: There is no reason baseball should have ever gotten to a point where games were taking three-and-a-half to four hours long. You want to know how long Game 6 of the 1977 World Series between the Dodgers and the Yankees took? You know that game, right? Reggie Jackson hit three bombs and the Yanks won 8-4 and, in doing so, won the Series. That huge game, in which 12 runs were scored, lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes. The Dodgers used four pitchers, while the Yankees stuck with Mike Torrez for the whole damn 9. Again, 2:18! How did we get away from this?

Okay, now I’m running long. Let’s finish this thing up.

Faster Games and Maybe More Basebrawls. If the pitching clock and other changes bring game times down to say the 2:30 – 2:45 range, I’ll be ecstatic. I’ll never get back those years I was forced to watch Steve Trachsel, but I’ll take what I can get. Watching Max Scherzer Sunday, I think pitchers will adjust and use the clock to their advantage with hitters allowed only one timeout per plate appearance. Scherzer did this with a Nats hitter. Got him to use his one T.O. and then made him wait and wait until the last second once he stepped back in for the next pitch. Make no mistake, these new rules are going to frustrate players and that frustration may likely turn into anger… which I know something about. Look for shorter games but also shorter fuses and maybe some fisticuffs in 2023. But let’s keep those blowups and bouts economical, eh, fellas? OK, I’m done.

Come back tomorrow for Buddy D., no relation to Sunny D.

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About Angry Ward 743 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.