The 20 Second Solution

by Greg in


I received the news last week that the Cape Cod Baseball League will adopt a new rule  in which there will be a 20-second limit between pitches when no runners are on base and a 90-second limit between innings. How did they chose 20 and 90 seconds?

After reading the announcement I got up (slowly) from my desk and grabbed a stopwatch. I timed myself receiving the ball from the catcher, getting set and then pitching. My timer showed 24 seconds. (I thought the batter was a little slow digging in.)

Then I went on YouTube and timed the first quick pitcher I could think of -- Cliff Lee.  He was between 9 and 12 seconds.

Ok. There is some variation in styles. What do you think is an appropriate time between pitches?

"It is hoped the adoption of this rule will further speed up the collegiate game, which is already faster than its professional counterpart," according to the announcement.

"We believe this decision by the NCAA to speed up the game will be a real plus to the CCBL and we look forward to implementing the new rule for our 2011 season," said Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop.

"Anything that speeds up the game should be beneficial to baseball," said CCBL deputy commissioner Sol Yas, who oversees league officiating. "We may have bumps in the road as players and coaches get used to the new rule, but we’ll work diligently with (assignor) Nick Zibelli and his (CBUAO) umpires to make sure of a smooth transition."

After one warning, a ball or strike will be added to the count depending on whether the pitcher or batter causes a violation. No pitch clock will be used in the NCAA tournament or the Cape League. The 20-second time limit starts when the pitcher receives the ball on the mound and stops when he begins his pitching motion. The time limit is used only when the bases are unoccupied. If a pitcher violates the 20-second rule he shall be warned by the umpire. If he continues to violate the rule, a ball will be awarded for each violation. There is one warning per pitcher. A pitcher stepping off the rubber does not stop the time limit unless the umpire grants the pitcher time.

What's next, timed sprints off the field between innings?