The SEC is experimenting with pitch clocks to ensure pitchers and hitters are ready to play again 20 seconds after the previous pitch.
Such a move is aimed at helping speed up the game, and you can bet Major League Baseball will be watching to see how the experiment turns out.
Pace of game has been a concern for MLB in recent years. The commissioner's office fines players who take too long to get ready. Jonathan Papelbon, for example, was fined multiple times in 2009 for going past his allotted maximum to get from the bullpen to the mound and warm up.
The issue took on added importance when umpire Joe West blasted the Red Sox and Yankees for the teams' slow play, where four-hour games are routine.
Perhaps Major League Baseball should take a look at instituting a pitch clock of its own. Currently, the rule is that each pitch must be delivered within 12 seconds of the previous pitch if there are no runners on base. The penalty is an automatic ball, but this rule largely goes unenforced. The rule was changed for the 2007 season after several seasons saw an average north of 25 seconds between pitches.
Should umpires be stricter about the policy?
By enforcing a rule already in effect, it would speed up baseball games significantly.
Assuming 408 total pitches are thrown in a game (the amount in Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays game) with an average of 12 seconds allowed between pitches, the game could have been over in one hour and 36 minutes (using the SEC's 48-second gap between innings). Using 2004's average of 26.3 seconds, however, a game that would have taken 1:36 to complete with a strict clock of 12 seconds instead took three hours and four minutes.
That's a significant difference. While it's likely baseball would bump the 12-second minimum higher — perhaps even back to 20 seconds, as it was prior to 2007 — any enforcement of the rule would do wonders in speeding the game up.
The only question is if Major League Baseball should shy away from timing a game that has never been at the behest of a clock.
Is it time for a change?
Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox GameDay Live or Red Sox Final.
May 26: Should umpires like Bob Davidson be penalized if they cross the line in arguments?