May 21, 2024

Major league baseball has introduced for the first time in its long history a new element which alters the poetic beauty of the greatest game ever created. This abomination can be found in center field of every stadium and takes the form of clock. The change is small, an almost unnoticeable to anybody but a baseball purist, but the center field clock reads 2:20 and begins running at the end of every half inning and instructs the crowd, players and umpires when the new half inning will begin.
So far this year I have largely been able to ignore but on the occasion the clock, but my heart breaks every time the clock rises to my level of consciousness. Baseball has always been the game without a clock. While many more capable scribes have written about the aesthetic pleasures the clock has brought (See Bart Giamanni’s Green Field for one example of this), an under-discussed element that baseball’s lack of clock offers is the way it distinguishes the game from the rest of the world. Baseball has always been a construction which transcends the rest of human life; never does this fact become more apparent than when one realizes the game transcends the most basic human construction of time. In that way baseball differs from every other sport. It does not only give you an escape and a release and break from different problems in your life, but baseball gives you a new life, complete with an entirely new measure of time-outs. In this new life, success literally endures.
While baseball is seen as a monolithic commercial enterprise, it of course does not exist in a vacuum. Baseball for most of it history has provided an outlet for the societal ills of labor exploitation and racism and that history should not ignore. But because there is no clock, each individual game is entirely self-contained. The goal is clear, and, from the perspective of a real fan, the good guys and bad guys are always clear. Within the game, there are no ulterior motives and no secondary goals. Each game exists entirely of itself and it can mean anything viewer wants it to.
The new clock, luckily, does not regulate play in any manner. Its largest offense, as of now, is symbolic. Major league baseball is eagerly trying new strategies to shorten games, trying to appeal to a crowd whose attention span is limited to 140 characters. I simply do not understand the desire to shorten baseball games. I have never been watching or at a baseball game and wanted to do anything else. The most amazing baseball is that it is built out of joys that are infinite. When I see the clock staring at me from the center field, I am reminded that in all likelihood the game will end and my other life, the one away from the game-the homework, the uncompleted tasks, the prospect of a lonely Sunday night-will resume. As of now it is only a reminder of probability; when my favorite team is hitting, the less rational aspects of my personality will sit and hope that maybe just maybe the game will last…last forever.

1 thought on “Keep Clocks Out of Baseball

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