Hall of Famer John Smoltz is introduced during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on September 08, 2021 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
Hall of Fame pitcher and Fox Sports MLB analyst John Smoltz thinks that the adjustment period for Major League pitchers to get used to the pitch clock, which was introduced for the 2023 MLB season, is nearing its end.
“I’d give it two more weeks. I don’t think we’ll see many violations the rest of the year after that point,” Smoltz said on a teleconference in advance of his appearance in the PGA Tour Champions Invited Celebrity Classic Presented by Choctaw Casinos & Resorts at Las Colinas Resort in Irving, Texas. “Really, the bottom line for this type of rule change is, unless they were giving you a new ball and a different bat to swing, it’s still the same. You just have to be more prepared to execute quicker, right?”
Smoltz, who pitched 21 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals, thinks that the quickened pace to the game is going to make it important for pitchers to better manage their conditioning going forward.
“Pitchers are going to have to be in cardio shape a little bit more than they may have been in the past,” Smoltz said. “And that’s going to be an issue for those who maybe don’t have the kind of cardio shape that you might need have to run through a game, and the pitchers who max out at 100 mph… maybe that helps them stay a little healthier.”
Smoltz, 55, recently underwent a hip replacement and is excited to be back on the golf course, where he’s competed in numerous celebrity events over the years. The righty maintains a handicap index of 0.9.
“Anytime we can compete with some of the best in the world and then compete within our own field of celebrities, it’s a dream come true for us. It’s really what we have left. It’s what I have left. It feeds my competitive juices,” Smoltz said. “I played basketball until I was 51. That’s probably why I got one new hip and another hip on the way. So golf is something I wanted to play as long as I could. In every event there is for charity, for reasons that we can make an impact, it is a win-win.And these are a blast to play in. The people that you’re around just doesn’t get any better.”