It seems like the MLB’s pitch clock is working a little too well.
If you weren’t familiar with the situation, Major League Baseball decided to change things up (finally) this season and introduced some new rules. The most prominent rule changes are:
-Banning of the defensive shift
-Bases are bigger (moved from 15 square inches to 18 square inches)
-Pitch Clock was instituted (15 second timer with bases empty and 20 seconds with runner on base)
All three new rules were implemented to help speed up the game of baseball. I personally think it is funny that the rules should also make the game more fun, but more people view the new guidelines as “alright, how can we speed this boring game up?”
The new additions to the MLB rulebook have been incredibly effective. More hits have gotten to the outfield with the ban of the shift, more bases have been stolen thanks to the bigger bases, and games have sped up tremendously with the introduction of the timer between pitches.
Annie Sabo, an employee of Bally Sports, shared her enthusiasm for the changes in the game. She also provided some numbers behind the rules during the first week of the season compared to last year’s season on Twitter:
2022- 3 hours and 8 minutes
2023- 2 hours and 38 minutes
The game is now more exciting and goes by a half an hour quicker on average than normal. So what seems to be the problem?
Well other than some people yearning for boring, cascading stories from baseball announcers to help fill the dead time in the old version of baseball, the quickness of the game is negatively affecting stadium beer sales.
The 30 minutes that are being saved thanks to the new pitch clock is cutting down on the time people can drink beer at the ball park. I don’t know about you, but I would say that is bad for business.
Joe Pompliano, a sports-business expert, shared this regarding the faster play of “America’s pastime:”
“MLB games are now 30 minutes quicker than last year.
That translates to a loss of $280,000 to $1.1 million in lost beer sales throughout the season, depending on the stadium.
So several teams (Brewers, Twins, Diamondbacks, and Rangers) have already extended their beer sales deadline from the 7th to the 8th inning.
And all the other teams will likely do it too.”
So the pitch clock could be costing baseball stadiums up to $1 million dollars in beer sales for the year? That seems like a lot of money, but remember, stadiums gouge you on alcohol prices so that might not actually be that many beers when you do the math.
However, that is still a wild loss of revenue, and it causing many ball parks to push back their “alcohol cutoff” from the end of the 7th inning to the end of the 8th. With the faster pace of baseball, it really hurts the “beer an inning” crowd the most.
Good luck with going to the bathroom or visiting the clubhouse store now too. With the old rules of baseball, you could walk around the stadium for 30 minutes and maybe miss an inning. Now, you could leave to go to the bathroom during the seventh inning stretch and miss the rest of the game.
Do you like the faster pace of play with baseball? Or do you think it’s all moving too quickly now?
America’s past time is now America’s fast time. I’m not sure if it’s a problem, but I suggest we do whatever we have to do to maximize beer drinking.