Today the SEC will begin using a scoreboard-mounted clock in an effort to speed up bases-empty situations during its conference tournament. Oh, please let it go off with a thunderous foghorn.
Pitchers will receive 20 seconds to pitch; if they go longer, they get a ball. However, batters will also be on the hook here: They'll receive a strike if they step out of the batter's box with five seconds or less remaining on the clock.
As a second "speed 'er up" measure, teams will have 1:48 to leave/get back on the field at the end of each half-inning. Again, a ball or strike penalty will be assessed depending on which team is the cause of the friggin' hold-up.
"Where's the fire?" you might be asking. A good question. Part of the charm of baseball is the "lazy river" aspect. Keeping score; adjusting your, uh, self endlessly; the many varieties of chew, be they Skoal or Big League; that third beer around the bottom of the fifth; and so on. At the same time, the games are really long, and I doubt anyone will truly miss watching a pitcher groom his mound for half a minute. So the sport without a clock finally gets one. It's a good idea. What's terrifying is that someone might be taking Rick Reilly seriously.