MLB Implements Pitch Clock for 2023 Season: Ties to Wichita’s Baseball History

If you are a baseball fan, you may have heard about the new rule that MLB has implemented for the 2023 season: the pitch clock. The pitch clock is a timer that limits the amount of time a pitcher can take between pitches, with the goal of speeding up the pace of play and making the game more exciting for fans. But did you know that the idea for the pitch clock has ties to Wichita, Kansas, and the founder of the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series? The NBC World Series is an annual amateur baseball tournament that has been held in Wichita since 1935. It was founded by Raymond “Hap” Dumont, a sports promoter who wanted to create a national championship for semi-professional teams. Dumont was also an innovator who introduced many new ideas to baseball, such as night games, fireworks, and giveaways. One of his most radical ideas was the pitch clock. In 1938, Dumont experimented with a 20-second pitch clock at the NBC World Series, using an electric scoreboard to display the countdown. He believed that this would make the game more exciting and attract more fans. He also hoped that it would reduce the number of walks and increase the number of hits. However, not everyone was on board with Dumont’s idea. Some pitchers complained that it was too distracting and unfair. Some umpires refused to enforce it. Some fans thought it was too gimmicky and unnecessary. The experiment lasted only one year, and Dumont abandoned the pitch clock. Fast forward to 2023, and MLB has adopted a similar rule to Dumont’s pitch clock. According to MLB, pitchers have 15 seconds to deliver the next pitch when there are no runners on base, and 20 seconds when there are runners on base. Batters must be ready to hit with eight seconds left on the clock. Violations result in an automatic ball or strike, depending on who is at fault. MLB says that the pitch clock is intended to improve the pace of play and enhance fan engagement. MLB also claims that it has seen positive results from using the pitch clock in spring training and in the minor leagues, where it has been in place since 2015. MLB says that games have been shortened by an average of 15 minutes, and that pitchers and hitters have adapted well to the new rule. However, not everyone is on board with MLB’s pitch clock. Some pitchers say that it is too stressful and restrictive. Some hitters say that it is too rushed and unnatural. Some umpires say that it is too hard to monitor and enforce. Some fans say that it is too artificial and unnecessary. The debate over the pitch clock is likely to continue throughout the 2023 season and beyond. Whether you love it or hate it, you can thank (or blame) Hap Dumont for coming up with it more than 80 years ago in Wichita. Final Thoughts: The Pitch Clock: A Controversial Innovation in Baseball with Ties to Wichita The introduction of the pitch clock in the 2023 MLB season has generated controversy among players, umpires, and fans, as it is seen as a significant change in the way the game is played. However, the idea of using a pitch clock is not new, and it has its roots in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas, where Raymond “Hap” Dumont experimented with the concept in 1938. The implementation of the pitch clock aims to reduce the time between pitches and speed up the pace of play, which can enhance fan engagement and make the game more exciting. MLB claims that it has already seen positive results from the use of the pitch clock in spring training and the minor leagues. However, some players, umpires, and fans are skeptical of its benefits, arguing that it can be stressful, restrictive, and unnatural. Overall, the pitch clock represents a significant change in the game of baseball, and its adoption is likely to spark ongoing debates among stakeholders. The fact that its origins can be traced back to Wichita highlights the city’s contribution to baseball history and innovation.