Image of four different baseballs, three with faces and text, "Statistics"

Illustrations by Felipe Van Rompaey


CCSS: 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.A.2, MP1, MP3, MP5

TEKS: 6.12C, 6.12D, 7.6G, 7.12B

Baseball on the Clock

Baseball is America’s pastime . . . but watching a game has also been known to take up too much time. That’s why Major League Baseball (MLB) started using a “pitch timer” to limit the time pitchers—and batters—have between throws.

Before the timer was instituted this season, pitchers could take as long as they wanted to throw the next pitch. And batters could take a break for as long as they wanted between swings. That led to slow-paced games with a lot of pauses.

All that downtime turns off current—and potential new—fans. TV ratings show that baseball draws the fewest young viewers of any major American sport. That’s why the league wanted to figure out a way to speed up games.

“The pitch timer creates a faster pace for fans, eliminating nearly a half-hour of dead time in the game and keeping players on their toes,” says Morgan Sword, executive vice president of baseball operations for MLB. He was involved in developing the timer.

Baseball players have already adapted to the new rules. Two months into the 2023 season, players have been easily complying with the pitch timer. Sword calculated that there have been only 0.3 violations per team per game.

And it looks like the speedier games are keeping fans happy too. “The more action-packed game has been popular with fans, with attendance up so far this season,” Sword says.

Answer the questions using the information in the infographic and graphs. Want to dig deeper? Go to for
5 more questions! Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

No runners are on base. What’s the time on the pitch clock after 6 seconds pass?

A. 1 second

B. 5 seconds

C. 9 seconds

D. 14 seconds

In which year shown did games first average more than 175 minutes?

A. 2010

B. 2012

C. 2013

D. 2015

About how many adults surveyed thought MLB games were too long?

A. 262

B. 388

C. 575

D. 611

About how much shorter was an average game in 2023 than in 2021?

A. 20 minutes

B. 35 minutes

C. 45 minutes

D. 60 minutes

There’s a runner on 2nd base, and 12 seconds have passed. How many seconds more does the pitcher have to throw the next pitch?

Do you think the pitch timer rules are a good idea? Use data from the article to support your argument.   

Skills Sheets (3)
Skills Sheets (3)
Skills Sheets (3)