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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tom Werner On State Of MLB: ‘You Wouldn’t Make A 3 1/2 Hour Movie’

Werner Brother: The Longest Most Meaningless Game in the World.

Among the many changes that Werner has in mind, he stressed the importance of pace when talking about the current state of baseball.

“Too many people are leaving games in the sixth and seventh innings because they can’t watch 3½-hour games, so they’re leaving the game at the point where the game should be getting exciting,” Werner told reporters, via the Boston Globe. “You wouldn’t make a 3 1/2-hour movie.”

Werner suggested a pitch clock, saying that he doesn’t consider the idea to be as laughable as some think. “In 1954, the NBA introduced a shot clock, and while it was considered radical at the time, it’s something that stuck through the years,” Werner said. “It would speed up play and it would give fans something to look at. Baseball is too slow and there’s a lot of inaction. If a pitcher is holding the ball for 40 seconds between pitches, you’re losing an audience.”

Eliminating warm-up tosses for relief pitchers would be another way to speed up the game, Werner said, pointing out that bullpen pitchers already throw before coming in. “Does a field goal kicker get to have a practice kick?” Werner said, via the Globe.

Repoz Posted: August 17, 2014 at 10:22 AM | 157 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb, red sox

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   1. Captain Supporter Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4772757)
Very glad this guy will not be the Commissioner.
   2. AROM Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4772760)
Seems like the average Red Sox game is longer than anyone else's game except the Yankees. And of course the Red Sox and Yankees often play 4 hour, 9 inning games when they match up. Let's see Tom make some changes in his own house before trying to fix everyone else's.
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4772761)
Very glad this guy will not be the Commissioner.

Do you really enjoy watching 3 1/2 hour games that are filled with nearly an hour's worth of assorted stalling and padding? What is it about watching every batter adjust his batting glove after every pitch that excites you?
   4. The District Attorney Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4772763)
My reaction is more like "why does this guy have positions on issues now, he didn't seem to have any when he was running."

That said, this is a problem, it is generally acknowledged as such, and I believe Manfred will attempt to address it.
   5. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4772767)
Nobody told Peter Jackson, obviously.
   6. depletion Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4772768)
In the spirit of collective punishment I suggest a rule: For every minute the average 9-inning game lasts longer than 3 hours, every players' salary drops by 0.5%. For every minute the average game lasts less than 3 hours the players get 0.5% more.
   7. JE (Jason) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4772769)
What exactly does Tom Werner have against Gettysburg, The Ten Commandments, and Once Upon a Time in America?
   8. NattyBoh Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4772771)
What exactly does Tom Werner have against Gettysburg, The Ten Commandments, and Once Upon a Time in America?

Gone with the Wind is about four hours.
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4772772)
Gone with the Wind is about four hours.


Yeah, and nobody's ever seen that.
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4772774)
Movies are too damn long these days, they have on average added half an hour since the 30's.
   11. TerpNats Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4772775)
Werner suggested a pitch clock, saying that he doesn’t consider the idea to be as laughable as some think. “In 1954, the NBA introduced a shot clock, and while it was considered radical at the time, it’s something that stuck through the years,” Werner said.
Dear Tom Werner: You're no Danny Biasone.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4772777)
The shot clock must have actually slowed NBA games down, right?

Anyway although I do wish the games were speedier I continue to find the idea of a visible pitch clock totally loathsome.
   13. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4772779)
Surprised it took until post 5 for this to turn to movies.

Unfortunately criticker doesn't allow me to sort by run time...so how am I to know which are my favourite long movies?

Lawrence of Arabia I would imagine qualifies. The extended version of Das Boot

Rats, A Bridge Too Far comes in just short.

If you sit through all of Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle's Pride and Prejudice in one sitting it comes out to more than 3.5 hours!
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4772781)
I'd gladly settle for the occasional Gone With The Wind length ballgame, if the average game lasted as long as the average movie.
   15. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4772784)
Movies are too damn long these days, they have on average added half an hour since the 30's.

One can make a case that they are too short.

Though really, that "case" is probably better described as a preference for long-form series style entertainment over the short story of movies which technology, viewing habits, and the quality of TV shows now make possible.
   16. McCoy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4772785)
Give me the good old days of 89 minute run times. Seems like every movie in the 80's was somewhere between 83 to 89 minutes long, unless of course you wanted to get nominated for Best Picture. In which case your film was 2+ hours long.
   17. Willie Mayspedester Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4772786)
You don't make a 3.5 hour movie you cut it into 3 movies to create a trilogy. Maybe they should have 3 inning games all year long.
   18. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4772789)
Give me the good old days of 89 minute run times.

Let's see...2012 to 2014 movies which I rated better than average under 100 mins.

Frances Ha (86)
Goon (92)
Moonrise Kingdom (94)
Ginger and Rosa (90)
Your Sister's Sister (90)

A fairly small percentage. It seems like the "smaller" the movie the better chance of getting under 100.
   19. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4772790)
You don't make a 3.5 hour movie you cut it into 3 movies to create a trilogy. Maybe they should have 3 inning games all year long.

On the flip side of that, I did once watch Mall Rats (94 min) three times in one day. Once vanilla, once with commentary, and once dubbed in French.
   20. Tony S Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4772791)
I think the biggest culprit here is all the late-inning reliever churning. I wouldn't be surprised if the final three innings of a game take about as long to play as the first six.

My hope is that one of these years an anti-Tony LaRussa will emerge, cut back to a ten-man pitching staff, and we'll have better-flowing games again. Not to mention that it's much easier to control the platoon matchups from the hitter's side. You don't have to warm up a pinch-hitter or worry about his workload.

We're headed towards an NBA situation (if we're not already there), in which the coaches call five drama-sapping timeouts in the last minute and a half.
   21. Bunny Vincennes Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4772793)
I really don't care how long a baseball game lasts. If I've committed to going to or watching a game, its very clear I HAVE NOTHING ELSE BETTER TO DO. Kids in the summer have nothing do. And honestly if you as an adult can't go to a game deal with an hour commute, you are a #####. This whole made up problem with how to fix baseball is a media fantasy. Its called lack of focus. Go text between pitches or play angry birds or whatever the #### you do at the office when your tiny mind is distracted from you job. ENJOY not being at work and let the game play out. You've committed to going. There is nothing else to do or you would be doing that.
   22. puck Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4772794)
Didn't we learn in one of the other threads that teams use one more reliever/game?

(I don't remember the comparison period. 60's or 70's?)
   23. JE (Jason) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4772795)
I really don't care how long a baseball game lasts.

As Tom Glavine pointed out during a recent telecast, it's the pace that matters, not the length. (Yes, McCoy, that's also what she said.)
   24. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4772798)
Gone with the Wind is about four hours.


Yeah, and nobody's ever seen that.


Was the best part when Rhett Butler constantly adjusts himself for 30 seconds waiting for another actor to finally say their line? Or the 4 or 5 times where the director walks on set, removes an actor and we get to watch his replacement run thru his lines with the boom mike operator for 60 seconds before the scene restarts.

Oh, must be the block of 3 minutes of commercials every 6 minutes!
   25. puck Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4772800)
Didn't we learn in one of the other threads that teams use one more reliever/game?


It's still in hot topics: 1.34 more relievers/game for each team than in 1964.
   26. JE (Jason) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4772801)
Later in the interview, Werner said that you wouldn't operate a three-hour boat tour of Oahu either.
   27. Tony S Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4772802)
Didn't we learn in one of the other threads that teams use one more reliever/game?


Might be true. But I think the relevant question is, how much more frequently do managers change relievers in mid-inning, as opposed to between innings?

Is a marginal LOOGY a better use of a roster spot than a decent pinch-hitter?
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4772805)
I think the biggest culprit here is all the late-inning reliever churning. I wouldn't be surprised if the final three innings of a game take about as long to play as the first six.


It doesn't really have a big effect on the game time. Not nearly as much as the twiddling of the batting gloves. A relief pitcher replacement takes 2 minutes. Teams average 4 pitchers a game, generally speaking most games you have a new pitcher at the start of the ninth, start of the eight, the starting pitcher, so we are talking about most of the time in a game there is one mid inning replacement pitcher per team, which is two per game, which is a grand total of 4 minutes added. And of course back in the day of shorter games, mid inning relief pitchers were the norm, as pitchers were replaced when they showed signs of struggling.


   29. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4772807)
Was the best part when Rhett Butler constantly adjusts himself for 30 seconds waiting for another actor to finally say their line? Or the 4 or 5 times where the director walks on set, removes an actor and we get to watch his replacement run thru his lines with the boom mike operator for 60 seconds before the scene restarts.

The best part of Gone With the Wind is obviously the end, when General Sherman burns Atlanta down to the ground.
   30. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4772810)
Vincennes, I hear you, but the point makes itself. If ballgames get boring to the point where you'd rather stay home and rewatch episodes of House, that's a problem for baseball.
   31. bobm Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4772817)
For 2014, Playing for BOS, (requiring tgl_stats.game_length_minutes>=210), sorted by greatest game_length_minutes: 29 (24% of 122)

For 2014, all MLB (requiring tgl_stats.game_length_minutes>=210), sorted by greatest game_length_minutes: 670 (18% of 3676)
   32. TerpNats Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4772826)
As Tom Glavine pointed out during a recent telecast, it's the pace that matters, not the length. (Yes, McCoy, that's also what she said.)
I thought the line was "it ain't the meat, it's the motion."
   33. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4772828)
Vincennes, I hear you, but the point makes itself. If ballgames get boring to the point where you'd rather stay home and rewatch episodes of House, that's a problem for baseball.

Easy solution. Like an airplane, put on-demand TV and movies on the back of every seat. Then you can watch House and the game!
   34. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4772829)
The best part of Gone With the Wind is obviously the end, when General Sherman burns Atlanta down to the ground.


Similarly, the best part of Star Wars was when Darth Vader blew up Alderaan.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4772834)
Similarly, the best part of Star Wars was when Darth Vader blew up Alderaan.


You missed the obvious...the best part of Independence Day was when the aliens blew up Washington DC. (of course I'm only assuming Joey lives in DC, don't know if that is true)
   36. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4772837)
ENJOY not being at work and let the game play out. You've committed to going. There is nothing else to do or you would be doing that.


When I'm at the game on a sunny afternoon I love the languid pace. If it's a chilly evening game, or an important game, it's not ideal. At home, just watching on tv? I'd prefer it to go faster, and if it did I'd probably watch more games beginning to end than I do.
   37. Dale Sams Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4772843)
Games are too long. Just...cut out a few ABs.
   38. jdennis Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4772846)
Hi, I write movies.

They want you to write them between 90 and 120 minutes. If it's over 128 minutes, a lot of people automatically reject them. But the director sometimes lengthens them. The first LOTR is below the 128 page count, but its running time is much longer.

Usually the first draft is too long, the second draft is too short, and only with the third draft do you hit the page count.

There are tons of movies today under 100 minutes. Almost all the animated movies and low brow comedies are under 100 minutes. There are a ton of old movies that are very long too. Back in the day when only a few studios dominated things were very regimented, though. American movies were very close to 2 hours exactly, over and over again, from 1940-1970. Now there's a lot more variation. Indies are usually short, period pieces or effects-laden stuff is usually longer. But if the movie is a present day typical comedy or drama, it is almost always between 90 and 120. I don't think overall movie length has changed much.

Where I do think the movies have gotten longer is for the tentpole blockbuster. Superhero movies and other action epics. Those used to be under 2 hours and now they are very commonly 2 and a half. Since these sell the most tickets, to the casual fan it might seem that movies are getting longer.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4772847)
When I'm at the game on a sunny afternoon I love the languid pace. If it's a chilly evening game, or an important game, it's not ideal. At home, just watching on tv? I'd prefer it to go faster, and if it did I'd probably watch more games beginning to end than I do.


Agree with the first part, when I'm at home though, I'll turn the game on and half pay attention to it while I go about other stuff. (actually I turn both the tv and radio on, with the 3 or so pitch delay between the two, I can tell by the tone of the crowd on the radio to pay more attention to the game to see what is happening). It may not be something that is capturing my attention completely but baseball is generally the only time I ever have my TV on anymore.

The pacing doesn't really bother me that much because of that.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4772850)
There are tons of movies today under 100 minutes. Almost all the animated movies and low brow comedies are under 100 minutes. There are a ton of old movies that are very long too. Back in the day when only a few studios dominated things were very regimented, though. American movies were very close to 2 hours exactly, over and over again, from 1940-1970. Now there's a lot more variation. Indies are usually short, period pieces or effects-laden stuff is usually longer. But if the movie is a present day typical comedy or drama, it is almost always between 90 and 120. I don't think overall movie length has changed much.

Lot's of stuff from the 1930-1955 period clocks in just over an hour. Mostly B pictures I suspect, meant to be shown before the ~2 hour feature.
   41. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4772854)
When I'm at the game on a sunny afternoon I love the languid pace. If it's a chilly evening game … it's not ideal

In Texas I'd invert those two contexts, but that's just a climate thing :)

There's languid and languid though. Brisk baseball is leisurely compared to basketball or ice hockey, which is why people prefer one or the other. Or perhaps more to the point, baseball, like football, is discrete, naturally played in units. Fans of those sports like the breaks between units (innings, possessions), but they can get increasingly restive when everybody's standing around during the time when there should be play. I have heard baseball fans shout "just throw the ball." Well, it's usually me, I admit :-D
   42. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4772855)
Superhero movies and other action epics. Those used to be under 2 hours and now they are very commonly 2 and a half.

This makes sense. With television quickly surpassing cinema as America's favorite medium for artistry and narrative complexity, movie studios are doubling down on film's built-in advantages. A longer movie (with more noise and effects, of course) will seem more like an Event Not to be Missed.
   43. CrosbyBird Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4772857)
Anyway although I do wish the games were speedier I continue to find the idea of a visible pitch clock totally loathsome.

I don't hate it as much as rule changes preventing substitutions or demanding a particular roster construction, but it's still unnecessary.

There are so many easy, non-invasive fixes. Enforce the rules about pitching with no men on base. Don't allow batters to step out of the box without good cause. Eliminate warm-up tosses for new pitchers from the mound (throw more in the bullpen before coming in if you have to).
   44. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4772860)
#43 - Concurrified.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4772861)
Eliminate warm-up tosses for new pitchers from the mound (throw more in the bullpen before coming in if you have to).

As stated elsewhere, this won't work. The pitcher needs to adjust to the specific mound. Maybe you could cut it down to 6, but they're necessary.

Warm up tosses happen during commercials anyway. That's not the big issue. The big issue is dead time during the live action.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4772862)
There are so many easy, non-invasive fixes. Enforce the rules about pitching with no men on base. Don't allow batters to step out of the box without good cause. Eliminate warm-up tosses for new pitchers from the mound (throw more in the bullpen before coming in if you have to).


Exactly. (any suggestions I put for roster changes isn't about pace of play, it's about I want to see better players on the bench instead of utility players) arguably the entire problem with the pace of game is about batters coming out of the batters box, and those rules aren't being enforced. (There is still the issues that in todays game more pitches are being thrown with no results than in the past---meaning strikes, balls and fouls out of play--but that frustration is increased with the long time per plate appearance)

Although eliminate the warm up tosses isn't really an issue.
   47. CrosbyBird Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4772871)
Warm up tosses happen during commercials anyway. That's not the big issue. The big issue is dead time during the live action.

There aren't commercials when you're at the game. Just dead time.

I agree that it's a pretty minor issue. Although I do feel like if the pitcher is slightly disadvantaged by having to throw off of a different mound, that's not necessarily a terrible thing, because it reduces the incentives of mid-inning relief appearances without creating artificial rules about substitutions or roster construction.

I don't care about 14-pitch PA, because the tension can be delicious. But if the guy steps out 13 times, that's a ton of wasted time, especially if he's Nomar Garciaparra.

   48. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4772872)
Is there any data about time between pitches, and how often the delay is due to the pitcher or the batter? The time limit rule specifies that the 12 second time limit (which only applies with no base runners anyway) begins when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the batters box alert to the pitcher. I suspect, with the amount the batters step out of the box, the time limit isn't being violated as much as people think, and enforcing it would not be the panacea people think it would be.
   49. CrosbyBird Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4772875)
I suspect, with the amount the batter steps out of the box, the time limit isn't being violated as much as people think, and enforcing it would not be the panacea people think it would be.

You definitely need both together: enforcing pitch times so the batter doesn't need to hold a stance for too long, and stopping step-outs so the clock starts right away.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4772876)
There aren't commercials when you're at the game. Just dead time.

But that's always been there. There are breaks between half innings in Little League and Central Park softball. Moving them from 2.5 minutes to 3 minutes b/c of longer commercials isn't what has turned 2:20 games into 3:30 games. It's all the crap between pitches that hurts.
   51. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4772880)
When I was a kid, games were usually about 2 1/2 hours long, and I didn't get bored watching them or listening to them.

Now, games are a usually a little over 3 hours long, but I still don't get bored watching them or listening to them.

I just don't get the fuss.
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4772881)
When I was a kid, games were usually about 2 1/2 hours long, and I didn't get bored watching them or listening to them.

Now, games are a usually a little over 3 hours long, but I still don't get bored watching them or listening to them.

I just don't get the fuss.


Many of us do get bored watching them now.
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4772889)
I suspect, with the amount the batter steps out of the box, the time limit isn't being violated as much as people think, and enforcing it would not be the panacea people think it would be.


I think it's pretty obvious that it is. The Human rain delay was a guy who spent 23 seconds(going from memory from the last time I checked) adjusting himself before pitches would no longer be considered extreme.

Just watch a game and mentally count how many seconds a batter is wasting in the batters box, with one foot out and one in as he adjusts himself. Even being optimistic and saying that on average they are adding 2 seconds per pitch, you are still talking about 10 minutes added per game(assuming roughly 300 pitches per game) Obviously not every player is adding 2 seconds to their plate appearance, but I'm pretty comfortable that on average that is a safe, if not low estimate.
   54. The Duke Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4772890)
Games are way too long. I leave in the 7th inning and listen to the rest on the ride home. It's some combination of pitchers not pitching and the interminable swapping out of relievers. the veclro step out doesn't feel like the issue to me. I hate the instant replay as well. Teams shouldn't have the call. There should be 2 per game and the umpires should decide when to use them. Relievers should get three pitches. Intentional walks should just be an award.
   55. puck Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4772894)
Here's a decent article on the topic by Ben Lindbergh of BPro (it's on Fox's site so we can actually read it).

He does note that a lot of the delay is due to the batter (since the rule says the 12 seconds start when the "batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher."

The more ominous obstacle is the pushback to enforcing the existing rule and that the players union would have to sign off on rule changes.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4772902)
The more ominous obstacle is the pushback to enforcing the existing rule and that the players union would have to sign off on rule changes.

Why should they care? What's the vested interest in fiddling around before very pitch?

If the owners come to the MLBPA with some market research showing the pace-of-play is hurting ratings/revenues, the players should be happy to go along.

Put it this way, if you bosses came to you with a proposal to knock a half-hour off your work day, would you be resistant?
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4772907)
Why should they care? What's the vested interest in fiddling around before very pitch?


Leverage. Every time one side asks the other side for a concession, it doesn't matter whether they care about it or not, but the ability to leverage that concession into something you do want. The reason that we didn't have PED testing before Congress acted is because neither side wanted it enough to give up any concession.
   58. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4772915)
I think there's a meaningful reason why both batters and pitchers #### around between offerings. In fact, it accounts for the paradox that sometimes the game stalls out the most when it's 8-1 in the sixth inning. Marginal relief pitchers in particular have a huge amount of money riding on next year's contract; it's fine for Mark Buehrle to pick up the pace, but often the middle relievers are contemplating the difference between a half-million dollars or more next year, and a return to AAA, or outright unemployment. I could be wrong about this; it could just be a pervasive culture where nobody can think outside the custom. But I suspect that every pitch gets treated like a big pitch because for a lot of these guys, it is.
   59. NattyBoh Posted: August 17, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4772919)
The best part of Gone With the Wind is obviously the end, when General Sherman burns Atlanta down to the ground.


And then they built the Braves a new stadium.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4772926)
But I suspect that every pitch gets treated like a big pitch because for a lot of these guys, it is.

Was this less true in the 1930's or 1950's with no guaranteed contracts at all? Those guys were pitching to avoid going back to the farm or factory; more pressure than I think these guys are under.
   61. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4772935)
Those guys were pitching to avoid going back to the farm or factory

True, but the upside wasn't nearly as great.
   62. Bob T Posted: August 17, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4772943)
Josh Beckett is on the DL and that could help bring down the time of games. His games were taking a long time this year and he was pitching well for much of it.

Some sports have radically changed themselves to make the sport shorter. Volleyball changed from side out scoring to rally scoring. Turned out that not many people wanted to give 4-5 hours to watch a volleyball match.

Tennis tried to shorten itself with tiebreakers and making most non majors best of three sets. But tennis fans seem to like it when Nadal and Djokovic go at it for four hours.

The NHL did a pretty good job of shortening games without sacrificing too much with hurry up faceoffs. Most NHL games are in the 2:30-2:45 ranges. It also helps that most games don't have protracted bench clearing brawls.

Basketball can be a short game, except that each team seems to get an inexhaustible supply of timeouts in the NBA. And basketball has those always exciting video replays to determine if there should be 16.4 or 16.2 seconds left in the game.

Football tries ways to shorten games. It's sort of worked in the NFL, but college games can go on forever and ever. In 2001, UCLA played a home game at the end of the season rescheduled because of 9/11. It wasn't televised by anyone. That was a very weird game to be at. After changes of possessions or scores, they just kept playing. There was no guy in a red shirt coming out on the field telling the refs when to stop play.

In a long ago life when I was a high school football stringer, I covered a game between two teams that ran nearly every play. The game took 1:45 to play. When I called in my story, the copy desk thought I was giving a halftime update. I think the final was 10-0 too. I didn't have to write much.

Anyway, I think my long winded point is that every sport has tried to find ways to shorten games. And I think the NHL has been the most successful at it.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4772946)
In a long ago life when I was a high school football stringer, I covered a game between two teams that ran nearly every play. The game took 1:45 to play. When I called in my story, the copy desk thought I was giving a halftime update. I think the final was 10-0 too. I didn't have to write much.


And that points to probably why the NFL time is still going up, passing percentage of play is way up compared to even 10 or so years ago. With incompletions stopping the clock, the game just keeps getting longer.
   64. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4772949)
I really don't care how long a baseball game lasts. If I've committed to going to or watching a game, its very clear I HAVE NOTHING ELSE BETTER TO DO. Kids in the summer have nothing do. And honestly if you as an adult can't go to a game deal with an hour commute, you are a #####. This whole made up problem with how to fix baseball is a media fantasy. Its called lack of focus. Go text between pitches or play angry birds or whatever the #### you do at the office when your tiny mind is distracted from you job. ENJOY not being at work and let the game play out. You've committed to going. There is nothing else to do or you would be doing that.
"What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
   65. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4772950)
Not only do games end too late -- not a big problem on weekends, but horrible on school nights -- but because they're so long they start too early, too. Games used to start at 7:30, but they don't anymore, because that would push back late endings even later.
   66. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4772953)
A relief pitcher replacement takes 2 minutes.
No. That may be the length of time between the current pitcher's removal and the start of play with the reliever, but you ignore the current pitcher stalling to give the reliever more time to get ready, the pitching coach coming out to the mound to stall to give the reliever more time to get ready, the manager slowly walking out to the mound to stall to give the reliever more time to get ready...
   67. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4772958)
wrong thread.
   68. puck Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4772966)
Batter pace report. Tulo has the 3rd highest gap between pitches, probably due to the elaborate pre-pitch surgical routine he goes through.

Pitcher pace report. Papelbon's only 41st?
   69. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4772970)
Papelbon's only 41st?


That has to be an error in the data gathering method...

If that chart is in seconds,(looking at the batting chart) then it really does point to something that can be changed fairly easily. There are 593 names on that chart and none of them are below 15 seconds. So we assume that 17 seconds is the fastest practical speed we can go. That still leaves 569 players who are averaging over that amount. Let's make it 20 seconds, there are 406 players exceeding that on average. It should be relative child's play to reduce the average time two or three seconds per pitch, and again, you are talking about 300 or so pitches a game, so you are talking 10-15 minutes with a relative minor adjustment, that doesn't cost one penny in commercials.
   70. Dale Sams Posted: August 17, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4772975)
Many of us do get bored watching them now.


As with steroids, may be the obvious answer isn't the real one. Perhaps we're getting old, or OCD from being at computers so long.

Hell, I went on Ritalin just because I couldn't get myself to read a book or watch a baseball game without cleaning the room while the game was on.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4772989)
I love that the fastest paced hitters are all pitchers. It's true, why bother going through a routine? Just stand up there and take your hacks.
   72. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4772994)
Not only do games end too late -- not a big problem on weekends, but horrible on school nights -- but because they're so long they start too early, too. Games used to start at 7:30, but they don't anymore, because that would push back late endings even later.

7:30? Hell, night games during WWII started as late as 9:00,** and after the war 8:30 was standard until the mid-50's, when it was moved up to 8:00 for the next decade or so. Of course it wasn't just the time of games that caused the changes, it was the fact that the fan base was required to travel longer and longer distances to get home after the game.

**And early NBA doubleheaders started their second games at 10:00, which made them end at about the same time as the NBA finals do today.
   73. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4772998)
college games can go on forever

Do they still stop the clock after every first down? I confess to not paying much attention to college football unless Michigan State is in the Rose Bowl, so that's like every other decade.
   74. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4773007)
Pitcher pace report. Papelbon's only 41st?
I find it interesting that one of the normal explanations for taking a long time is that pitchers have to be careful with runners on, but in fact the difference was only about 5 seconds between the two situations.
   75. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4773018)
Do they still stop the clock after every first down? I confess to not paying much attention to college football unless Michigan State is in the Rose Bowl, so that's like every other decade.

CFL timing rules are interesting in this way.

In the last 3 minutes of a half the clock stops after every play and only starts again when the ball is placed. There is also only a 20 second play clock. Combine that with only having two downs before you have to punt and it is very difficult to run out of the clock with the lead.

The end of a CFL game is usually quite exciting as you can't really just run the clock out, you have the potential to get the ball back quickly, and moving the ball down the field doesn't take much time. Being down 10 points with 1:35 to play isn't necessarily game over.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4773034)
7:30? Hell, night games during WWII started as late as 9:00,** and after the war 8:30 was standard until the mid-50's, when it was moved up to 8:00 for the next decade or so. Of course it wasn't just the time of games that caused the changes, it was the fact that the fan base was required to travel longer and longer distances to get home after the game.


Really? I did not know that.
I'm guessing the establishment of "prime time" changed peoples expectations of when is the proper time for entertainment.
   77. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 17, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4773035)
Do they still stop the clock after every first down? I confess to not paying much attention to college football


I don't know either, I'm a KU fan. What's a "first down"?
   78. McCoy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4773036)
Well, WWII had three shifts working everyday so there is that. As for the 8:30 start time when the game only last 90 to 120 minutes and you live a 15 minute subway/trolley ride away you can start games at 8:30pm.
   79. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4773048)
Well, WWII had three shifts working everyday so there is that. As for the 8:30 start time when the game only last 90 to 120 minutes and you live a 15 minute subway/trolley ride away you can start games at 8:30pm


and when a good crowd is considered to be 10,000 people you don't need to conform to the mass expectations.
   80. TerpNats Posted: August 17, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4773058)
As late as 1985, the Yankees began night games at 8 p.m.
   81. Pirate Joe Posted: August 17, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4773101)
Do they still stop the clock after every first down?


They do, but they restart the game clock much quicker now than they used to. They are supposed to start it when the chain gain guy sets the chain where the ball is, but if you actually watch what they do they frequently start it while those guys are still moving into position, especially if the team is not running a no huddle offense so the ref knows that even if those guys need another three or four seconds to be "ready" it's not going to be an issue because the offense isn't going to be snapping the ball anyway.

That's actually one of the few concessions that college football has made to making games shorter. In the NFL they have continually changed the rules to speed up play by eliminating plays from the game. For the most part, in college they have not. The average college team runs significantly more plays per game than the average NFL team does. Essentially the colleges told the networks that they needed to block off 3-1/2 hours for games because they weren't going to shorten the games just for the sake of shortening the games. That's why you get a lot of noon (eastern) television times followed by a 3:30 television time. On the other hand, the networks told the NFL that they needed to figure out a way to try to get their games finished in three hours, and they have still pretty much given up on the idea. Hence the late games on the network with the doubleheader that weekend now start at 4:20 rather than 4:05 like the non-doubleheader games do.

   82. BDC Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4773114)
Thanks, Pirate! Very interesting.
   83. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4773116)
The best movie I saw last year was 3 hours. The best movie I've seen so far this year was about 90 minutes.
   84. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4773122)
The best movie I saw last year was 3 hours. The best movie I've seen so far this year was about 90 minutes.

Transformers: Age of Extinction and A Haunted House 2?
   85. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4773127)
The best movie I saw last year was 3 hours. The best movie I've seen so far this year was about 90 minutes.

The best movie I've seen in the past 20 or so years was over 9 hours, which proves absolutely nothing other than that the Japanese know how to make some terrific movies.
   86. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4773132)
Transformers: Age of Extinction and A Haunted House 2?

I will never see either of those. The answers are The Wolf of Wall Street and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
   87. Greg K Posted: August 17, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4773137)
I will never see either of those. The answers are The Wolf of Wall Street and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Ah nice. I hadn't noticed before, but since two Wes Anderson movies have been noted as "under 100ers" in this thread, maybe that's a thing.

Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Darjeeling Limited are around 90. The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic are in the two hour range. Which sounds about right. Those two do feel a bit grander, if that's the right word.
   88. DFA Posted: August 18, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4773252)
I think they are making a mountain out of a molehill, especially as they allow the networks to extend the commercial breaks. It's worse on Sunday primetime game, so the contractually required Yankees/Red Sox 6 games a year will make those games even longer.

In the end I just want the best possible match. Sure 2.5 hr games would be more convenient, but not at the expense of expediency over quality.
   89. zack Posted: August 18, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4773275)
In the end I just want the best possible match. Sure 2.5 hr games would be more convenient, but not at the expense of expediency over quality.

I used to feel that way, but having watched a shitload more hockey games the last several years I've come to realize how nice it is to know that a game will be over in under 3 hours, for myself and for my family. And as mentioned up thread, that's not just a natural result (obviously being a timed game helps), they actively tried to speed it up basically without any downside.

I agree with the apparent consensus here. It's not that there's too much game, it's that the game moves unnecessarily slowly now. Get on the mound, get in the box, throw the ####### ball.

One thing that won't change is with the ever-increasing ball-not-in-play-ness of baseball, the number of pitches thrown has been going up. Obviously the time a game takes depends on both the number of PA (which I assume varies directly with the offensive environment) and the pitches it takes to get through a PA, which has been steadily rising:

Pitches/PA
2013 3.83
2008 3.80
2003 3.73
1998 3.70
1993 3.65
1988 3.58

So if they want to knock something off that at the same time I'd have no issues. But it's the time wasting that's the core problem.
   90. zack Posted: August 18, 2014 at 02:00 AM (#4773277)
One thing the NHL does when considering rule changes is to first apply them in the AHL (equivalent of AAA) for a season for some real-world testing. Does MLB ever do this with it's own minor leagues? If not, why not?
   91. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: August 18, 2014 at 02:26 AM (#4773278)
The best movie I've seen in the past 20 or so years was over 9 hours, which proves absolutely nothing other than that the Japanese know how to make some terrific movies.


The Human Condition?

My favorite movie is 7.5 hours long, which proves absolutely nothing other than that Bela Tarr knows how to make some terrific movies. Can't really vouch for Hungary as a whole...
   92. CrosbyBird Posted: August 18, 2014 at 04:29 AM (#4773281)
Now, games are a usually a little over 3 hours long, but I still don't get bored watching them or listening to them.

It's a shame that the Tivo skip forward button length is just a bit longer than the time between pitches, or I could watch a whole game in 60-90 minutes.
   93. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 18, 2014 at 07:34 AM (#4773290)
The best movie I've seen in the past 20 or so years was over 9 hours, which proves absolutely nothing other than that the Japanese know how to make some terrific movies.

The Human Condition?


Bingo.
   94. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: August 18, 2014 at 08:06 AM (#4773296)
Good stuff, though I wasn't totally enthralled with it; however, Kobayashi's Harakiri is absolutely stellar.
   95. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4773317)
While in Santa Fe a few weeks ago me and the Yankee Belle had a chance to watch a restored print of the 1963 Taylor/Burton epic "Cleopatra", whose running time approached 4 hours. I'd have been bored by the stilted dialogue and unexpected casting decisions (Is that...CAROL O'CONNOR?) if it weren't for the spectacle on-screen. The scene where Cleopatra enters Rome astride an enormous onyx sphinx was truly worthy of the term "epic". I turned to my wife and said, "Yep, I can see where all that money went."

As an aside George RR Martin deserves all sorts of credit for his restoration of the Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe, it's been closed for several years prior to his purchase a year ago. It's a beautiful little theater now serving good coffee and offers many sensible choices, like small $2 bags of popcorn with $1 refills. It also contains a small bookstore now, which as you might expect is well-stocked with signed copies of his books.
   96. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4773319)
In the end I just want the best possible match. Sure 2.5 hr games would be more convenient, but not at the expense of expediency over quality.

Did you notice any less quality in the 70's and 80's? The talent level was likely a bit lower, but the game was much more entertaining.
   97. McCoy Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4773324)
I found 80's baseball to be incredibly boring and the stars of the 70's have always struck me as the least interesting ballplayers to ever take the field.* 70's baseball cards sucked. The presentation on TV sucked. Stadiums almost always seemed too dark and the turf and stadiums looked incredibly ugly. Fans were drunken louts at games.


*What they did off the field appears to have been very interesting.
   98. Randy Jones Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4773326)
Did you notice any less quality in the 70's and 80's? The talent level was likely a bit lower, but the game was much more entertaining.

Baseball in the 80's sucked. Boring ####### garbage. I hope we never see that sort of game again.
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4773328)
I found 80's baseball to be incredibly boring and the stars of the 70's have always struck me as the least interesting ballplayers to ever take the field.*

You found 80's baseball boring?

Rickie, Brett, Boggs, Gwynn, Mattingly, Gooden, Clemens, Ripken, Ozzie, Raines, Dawson, Fernando.

Do you like baseball?
   100. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4773329)
Baseball in the 80's sucked. Boring ####### garbage. I hope we never see that sort of game again.

I find this sentiment hard to fathom.

80's baseball had a much wider range of styles, more action, faster tempo.
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