Baseball games are longer than ever. Here’s why.


Baseball players aren’t used to watching
clocks. But that changes this season. Major League
ballparks have installed timers for the commercial breaks between innings, requiring players
to resume the game as soon as those clocks hit zero.
It’s one of the small steps the league is taking to speed up the pace of play after
average game times hit a record high in 2014 –  3 hours and 8 minutes.
It would be one thing if those 3 hour games were action-packed, but actually both hits
and runs per game are down in recent years. So what’s going on? It’s like watching Lord of the Rings 160 times in 6 months or something. Every night you’ve got Lawrence of Arabia. This is Grant, he watches baseball sometimes.
I watch probably about 200 baseball games a year.   
He says there’s no one thing slowing down the pace of play. But part of it is that the
some of the players are kind of dawdling. The time between pitches has gone up.
Last season pitchers took an average of 23 seconds between pitches.
There’s actually a rule on the books that the pitcher has to throw the ball within 12
seconds if the bases are unoccupied. But it hasn’t been enforced.
Just limiting pitchers to 20 seconds would cut around 15 minutes of game time.
The off-season league started testing a pitch clock last year — 20 seconds without a pitch
and the umpires calls an automatic ball. That’s something that may be coming to the
majors next. If they already have the clocks in place for
between innings, I don’t think they’re going to be too delicate with the idea of
a pitch clock. It’s not just pitchers that set the pace
though. Batters have their own bad habits. This year, they can be fined $500 if they
don’t keep one foot in the batters box between pitches. But there’s a pretty long list
of exceptions. Still some players are not happy about this.
I call that bullshit. Batters are already at a disadvantage in this
era of hard-throwing pitchers and stricter drug testing. It can be a strategic move to
be able to slow things down. If you force a hitter to do that, 70% you
are out because you don’t have no time to think.
But baseball purists say if you go back and watch classic games, before velcro gloves,
before players came on the field with a soundtrack, there was a lot less fiddling going on at
the plate. Some other factors are a bit harder to tackle.
There’s been a shift in how teams deploy their pitchers, and it has to do with something
called a loogy. Lefty one out guy.
It’s a pitcher brought in just to face a left handed batter. And it’s one of the
ways that the bullpen has become more specialized, which means more pitchers playing in each game than
before. You’ve got the loogy, maybe two loogys,
7th inning guy, 8th inning guy, maybe a couple of 8th inning guys then 9th inning guy.
More relief pitchers mean more game delays and more commercial breaks. But it’s working
for the teams so, this trend is probably here to stay.
The new instant replay process may have also helped slow down games last year. In theory,
reviewing calls should eliminate arguments on the field, but it ended up that managers
were stalling while their bench coach tried to decide whether to use their challenge.
New rules this year should keep the managers in the dugout during challenges.
The league hopes that by cutting out some of the dead time in the game, they’ll make
baseball more palatable for young people whose attention span can’t survive the 23 seconds
between pitches. Baseball knows that it has the oldest demographic
of the four major North American sports and it’s not particularly close.
But here’s the thing — football games are actually longer than baseball games, with
more dead time and more commercials. And the kids love football.
But it doesn’t hurt to try. And there’s one way that baseball could become more relevant
rather than less, in this era of constant digital noise.
I think baseball can survive as something of an oasis around that.
Where people come and say we need at least one leisurely sport that we can go to and
just relax. And if we miss an inning,you know, we’re not going to feel bad. We’re going
to go to the park and sit in the sun for the whole express purpose of a leisurely game
with punctuated bursts of excitement.

100 thoughts on “Baseball games are longer than ever. Here’s why.

  1. Before every batter steps in they think about the situation and what pitch the pitcher will throw in different counts.

  2. A single 20 overs match in cricket is longer than that and we cricket lovers still enjoy it a lot! Maybe baseball is just boring that's why you think it's getting long.

  3. NFL games are 3+ hours long with literally 25 minutes of actual action. If you don't like baseball, don't watch it. The game shouldn't change to appeal to milennials who have the attention span of a gnat.

  4. People love Football more than Baseball because the level of intensity is vastly higher and lasts longer than baseball's intensity. Have you ever seen a No-Hitter baseball game? It's awful. Stuff like that doesn't happen in football.

  5. I think they should stay the same time . If you like baseball you’ll watch but you don’t have to watch. Players need there time and then if it is timed it is not real baseball.

  6. Lol 4 hrs is shortest format of cricket
    abd people are very much lively during the game
    even during the 8 hr ODI match too

  7. Now Rob Manfred has a rule where now the pitcher has to throw the ball 12 seconds after receiving the ball otherwise it’ll be an automatic ball

  8. Should keep the game going, not stall it so you can shift your nuts three times. Tap your bat a few times. Readjust your gloves a couple times. I mean let's go already… I bet it would probably up their accuracy by playing at a faster pace in my opinion!

  9. But the thing is they are trying to win what if you got payed to play a game and the better you do the more you get payed so the players try to stall to affect the pitcher, no hate tho

  10. Football is so much more exciting than baseball. Hockey, basketball and soccer are all so much more palatable than baseball as there is stuff happening all the time. You could do a crossword and look up ever 45 seconds to watch the pitch and not miss any plays.

  11. Yeah cuz baseball actually cares about finding the best team and football is literally as long as four series in baseball

  12. I'm not American and I recently went to NY and watched the Mets play San Diageo and omg this game was sooo looooooonnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg. I cant say much cause I watch test cricket 😂

  13. It does need to speed up.
    Next time you watch a baseball game, notice when a pitcher pitches, everyone in the stands are either talking or on their phone because it’s so boring

  14. Only Playoffs are interesting.
    But watching just a regular game for 5 hours…I’m good.

    Don’t get me started on Football. All that muscle just for a 3 second play.

    Hike, player runs 5 ft, gets tackled…fans wait 10mins for players to regroup….Then 7hr Long commercials

  15. Baseballs a game you have to actually understand. It's unfortunate it's dying out because in my opinion it is the greatest sport.

  16. I'm 78 and grew up in Philly and Robin Roberts was my favorite pitcher. 28 complete games in 1954; the year he won 28 games. He was no fidgety, nervous Nellie on the mound.

  17. How come so many Amercian sports are specialised? In cricket it's only 11 players and in a test match, they all bat and field.

  18. Baseball is just a boring sport. Best thing you can do is at the beginning of the season just pick a winner and save everyone the trouble. Seasons is over no wasted time

  19. That's why I can't watch baseball. I like playing the video games though. You can skip all of the simulated fumbling and stalling. Football on the other hand is a blast to watch.

  20. You can't use gomes as an example. He famously does the helmet adjustment thing and it takes awhile but he's one guy

  21. Americans should watch Cricket. T20 Cricket can be finished in less than 3 hours if commercial time is reduced. While IPL matches go over 4 hours, regular non-televised matches don't even cross 3 hours mark.
    And T10 can be finished in 2 hours even with commercials and long inning break.

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