After one full year of the MLB pitch clock, local and national ratings are trending up while fans and media alike have embraced the quicker pace and shorter games. Tampa Bay Rays studio host Rich Hollenberg is no exception.
Joining Jessica Kleinschmidt for an episode of Short and to the Point for The Comeback, Hollenberg explained the levity it brought to the season and why he thinks it’s directly attributable to the improved ratings.
“I think it has been received (with a) 100 percent approval rating,” Hollenberg said. “I don’t know of anybody who says, ‘I wish the games were longer.'”
Hollenberg believes everyone from players to coaches to fans to media appreciates the reduced time commitment of a baseball game. It may not be the average fan’s biggest concern if they’re watching at home, but it adds up when the goal is to grow an audience and fan base.
However, Hollenberg worries about some other MLB rule changes. He believes unprecedented numbers from athletes like Ronald Acuña Jr., who hit 40 home runs and stole 70 bases this season, are driven by banning the shift and shorter basepaths.
“The only thing the traditionalist in me looks a little sideways at are the monster numbers that are going to be now normalized,” Hollenberg said. “I don’t think those numbers would have been possible without the rule changes.”
As the baseball playoffs heat up this week, fans are now used to faster action and more offense. Early returns could not be better across the sport.