Skip to main content

Mariners Fans Start Pitch-Clock Countdown vs. Guardians

To call the pitch clock’s effect on baseball games revolutionary—just a few games into its existence—would be an understatement. Game times are around a half an hour shorter than they were a year ago, on average. The league clearly created the pitch clock with an eye toward speeding things up, and though we’re still working with a small sample size, it’s feels safe to say that things are progressing right along course.

Perhaps one element of the clock that was not by design? Fan involvement.

It’s an idea that’s existed in basketball for decades: as the game or shot clock dwindles on the away team, fans of the home team chant a dummy countdown with incorrect time to either rush the other team into an early shot, or deke a player to holding onto the ball for too long for a shot clock violation. Now, baseball fans are taking the same approach with the pitch clock. Exhibit A? Mariners fans against Guardians pitcher James Karinchak on Saturday night.

Karinchak—who was called for a pitch clock violation on Thursday on a night when he took the loss by giving up a go-ahead home run—settled in despite the crowd’s best efforts, pitching a scoreless eighth inning on Saturday of a 2-0 Cleveland win. After the game, he told reporters that he wasn’t phased by the opposing fans’ antics, and that he enjoyed the energy it brought to the moment.

Even if Karinchak was unmoved by it, here’s betting that other fan bases will try similar tactics all season long.