MLB players would like to adjust the pitch clock during playoffs, but Rob Manfred seems lukewarm

The introduction of the MLB pitch clock has been an overall success this season, slashing several minutes off games with only a few hiccups along the way. The league's players, however, want a change when the playoffs begin.

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark told reporters Tuesday before the 2023 MLB All-Star Game that the players don't want to do away with the pitch clock in the postseason, like the league does with the extra-innings ghost runner, but they would like some extra time during games.

He indicated that the players had communicated as much to the league office.

From The Washington Post:

“The players that have been on the on-field committee and that are newly on the on-field committee have been consistent in that regard,” said Clark, who added that he is “hopeful” that MLB can “make adjustments” to the pitch clock, implying that a few extra seconds — rather than doing away with the clock entirely in October — would feel like a palatable solution. He said the union has “represented” its suggestions to MLB and that it is glad to find the “lines of communication are open.”

The idea was presented to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who demurred while citing a desire to play playoffs games the same way as regular-season games and noting that the rate of pitch clock violations is within acceptable standards.

From The Athletic:

“Obviously, we don’t want a postseason game decided based on a violation,” Manfred said. “I understand it’s a possibility. In terms of doing something in the postseason, making an alteration, we’re going to continue to talk to the players. I got a significant number of player meetings still to do. I’m sure I’m going to have some conversations with Tony Clark about this issue.

“I would make two points. I do, in general — and there’s exceptions to this, including the extra inning rule — in general, I think you ought to play the postseason the way that you play the regular season. There’s exceptions, OK? I’m open-minded on that topic.

“And secondly, we are comfortable with the way the clock and the violations, particularly late in the game and high-leverage situations that we’re watching, have been managed.”

CLEVELAND, OHIO - MAY 05: The pitch clock looms behind starting pitcher Bailey Ober #17 of the Minnesota Twins during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on May 05, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
MLB players would like some pitch clock tweaks come playoff time. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The pitch clock might be a success story now, but Manfred is correct that its potential to decide a playoff game could be a dagger dangling above MLB's improved pace of play. However, given that the whole point of the clock was to make games more watchable, the idea of changing it for the games the most people will watch also seems questionable.