August 26, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee has taken the first step to prevent pitching coaches from taking excessive time to call pitches by proposing an experimental 20-second pitch clock rule with runners on base for the 2016 season.
If approved, any conference in NCAA Divisions I, II and III can apply to the committee if the conference wishes to implement the rule.
The issue takes place when a coach who calls pitches in the dugout takes an unusually long amount of time to relay a pitch to the catcher with a runner or runners on base and essentially changes the tempo of the game.
At the recent College World Series, several pitchers took close to a minute to throw pitches after they initially received the ball.
The delay took place as the catcher waited patiently for the pitch to be called by his pitching coach in the dugout.
Whether it was a tactic to slow the game down to a crawl to mess with the offensive team’s momentum or the pitching coach was utilizing every bit of data from his charts to make an informed pitch decision which took extra time, it caught the attention of umpires, administrators and opposing coaches.
There is already a 20-second pitch clock rule with no runners on base.
The proposal must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel before it can be implemented. The panel was scheduled to discuss the Baseball Rules Committee’s proposal on a conference call Aug. 26 after Collegiate Baseball went to press.
Several coaches over the last few NCAA Division I baseball tournaments have been extremely slow at calling pitches from the dugout with runners on base, according to coaches who alerted Collegiate Baseball of this problem.
The coaches who contacted Collegiate Baseball feel that this practice must be stopped for the integrity and growth of the game.
These coaches feel fans are turned off by slow play. In addition, coaches who utilize this tactic risk more errors by their defense who aren’t focused as they wait and wait for the pitch to be called.
According to one member of the Rules Committee, who wished not to be identified, this tactic concerns executives of ESPN because of the idle time between pitches which causes a frustrating problem during telecasts.
To read more of this article, purchase the Sept. 4, 2015 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.