In December, we posted on the SEC instituting a sort of "pitch clock" to make its long baseball games shorter. This change came after last year's first two rounds both took until after 1 a.m. to complete, each game lasting an average of three hours, 17 minutes.The new rule has now been in use for eight games at this year's tournament. Guess what? It's working.
- Alabama 7, Auburn 1: 2:12. â‡¥
- Mississippi 3, South Carolina 0: 2:39. â‡¥
- LSU 10, Florida 6: 3:17. â‡¥
- Vanderbilt 2, Arkansas 0: 2:54. â‡¥
- Auburn 3, South Carolina 1 (12 innings): 3:12. â‡¥
- Florida 5, Arkansas 4: 2:26. â‡¥
- Alabama 6, Mississippi 3: 2:50. â‡¥
- LSU 7, Vanderbilt 5: 2:32.
Yes, the longest game of 2010 was as long as the average game in 2009. The average 2010 game runs two hours, 45 minutes and 15 seconds, more than a half-hour less than it did last year, and that's with a fair bit of scoring and a 12-inning game in the mix. The final games of each day ended before 11:30 p.m.
The pitch clock, over this small sample size, certainly seems effective at speeding up games.
Where this goes from here remains to be seen. College baseball has a greater incentive to speed up its games because it's not as beholden to advertising as MLB is, and conferences would probably love to shorten up possible 14- or 16-hour days in the first rounds of tournaments, and youth baseball leagues might follow suit. (If a pitch clock works, though, wouldn't it help to speed up games threatened by inclement weather at any level?)
Over the small sample size of the last two days in Hoover, Ala., a pitch clock has sped up baseball games and not destroyed the sanctity of the game. We'll have to wait and see how quickly—or if—it gets adopted by the rest of the baseball world.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.