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Owners plan to implement pitch clock this season for Minor Leagues

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Baseball is once again trying to be more like other sports...

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLB owners will look to implement a 20-second pitch clock in all Double-A and Triple-A games this season, with a formal ownership vote likely to happen later today. (This information was first reported by Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors) The MLBPA (players union) would also have to approve the move, and while the owners are expected to support it almost unanimously, it is unclear right now whether it will have the support of the players or not. Other changes, such as a clock on pitching changes and a rule forcing batters to keep one foot in the box after most pitches are also planned.

All of these things were already tried in the Arizona Fall League a few months ago, but rolling them out across the highest levels of MiLB would be a much bigger move. It can be seen as a final step to make pushing them into MLB seem like not a big deal, or as a way to get a larger sample of data on which to evaluate future decisions. (Which is to say, the owners may already want them in MLB, but not believe they have the muscle to force it yet, or they may still be trying to make up their minds.)

I think of myself as generally pretty open to change, but find myself pretty strongly against the pitch clock. It isn't that I don't think the pace of play could be sped up a bit, it's that the physical clock itself bothers me. MLB already has rules on the book that are intended to move games along faster than they often move themselves (the rule book actually class for just 12 seconds, not 20). Why not just tell umpires to enforce those rules more seriously? It wouldn't be the first time such a directive was given.

If the umpires prove incapable of stronger enforcement, then it might make sense to consider something more drastic, but why jump directly to the more intrusive change?

There is something aesthetically pleasing about the absence of any clock ticking away the game in baseball. I don't want to lose that.