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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Baseball Games Are Still Too Long—and Getting Longer

The extreme game length that caused this overlap and prevented fans from devoting full attention to both crucial contests is not an aberration, however, but the new postseason norm. The average playoff game this postseason has lasted a gobsmacking three hours and 42 minutes.

Remove the 13-inning, five-hour-and-14-minute battle between the Red Sox and Rays, and the average for nine-inning contests is still an absurd 3:38, the highest ever. This graph shows how the average nine-inning playoff game length has changed since 1969, the first season with intraleague playoffs before the World Series.

Game length has almost always increased, but now that increase is accelerating, too. From 1991 to 2001, the average playoff game increased by eight minutes. From 2001 to 2011, the average playoff game increased by six minutes. But from 2011 to 2021, the average playoff game has increased by 22 minutes. And that’s probably an undercount because the 2021 playoff data doesn’t include the World Series yet, and those games tend to last the longest of any round.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2021 at 10:12 AM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pace of play

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   101. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:37 PM (#6048142)
Here's my crazy, never gonna happen, solution. Have games start at 6pm but they don't start the broadcast until 8pm. Radio and TV edit the game so you get 2 hours of game and 30 minutes of commercials. Virtually all games get wrapped up by 10:30 and you don't lose anything.
   102. . Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:42 PM (#6048146)
Or have one broadcast of the whole thing and another starting at 8. Could easily see something like this happening, particularly as I think it's likely the broadcasts will stratify into "normal" and "gambler."

The last time I seriously went to Vegas, I got really wasted on one of the first nights and wound up spending the entire next day from like 9 am to 3 am doing nothing but betting the horses. There was never a time at which there wasn't some track, somewhere in the world, that was running races. Got the racing form, a table with my buddy, and had them bring food and beverage as the day and then the night progressed. The number of horse bets I placed that day was probably triple the number of horse bets I've placed on all the other days of my life combined. I could actually see them one day staggering baseball games timewise in much this way.
   103. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:11 PM (#6048186)
Have games start at 6pm but they don't start the broadcast until 8pm.

I seem to recall that in the early days of baseball broadcasting, radio did not always carry the entire game; they were joined in progress, to keep from depressing the live gate. (An example: a Senators-Indians game on September 21, 1939.) Meanwhile, Hockey Night in Canada started televising NHL games in 1952, but it wasn't until 1968 that the contests were carried in their entirety; before that, broadcasts began as much as an hour after they dropped the puck, again to avoid cutting into attendance.
   104. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 21, 2021 at 07:13 PM (#6048200)
Baseball is a great sport to follow via written media and games are great on radio. The problem is written media is in the crapper and radio is not the dominant form of media entertainment anymore.
A thousand times yes, McCoy.

Much has been written about how the rise of baseball in the late 19th century paralleled and fed off of the rise in daily newspapers, and how radio broadcasting amplified its dominant hold over American sports from roughly 1930-1960. Now that both written media and radio are bleeding and barely surviving, is baseball next?
   105. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 08:54 PM (#6048223)

A)all time peak still had a ton of empty seats each game

what is this an argument for? Its hard to understand what your pt is with this statement.
   106. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 10:10 PM (#6048242)
Martin enters the game to face Chris Taylor. Fresh pitcher. Time between pitches 1 and 2 to Taylor - 36 seconds

Time between pitches 2 and 3 - 30 seconds.

Taylor deposited pitch 3 in the CF bleachers. Taking over a minute to throw two pitches really worked out for Martin.
   107. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 10:14 PM (#6048245)
He’s taking 25 seconds between pitches to the damn pitcher.
   108. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2021 at 10:46 PM (#6048250)
He’s taking 25 seconds between pitches to the damn pitcher.

must. resist. urge......

   109. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 21, 2021 at 11:39 PM (#6048262)
The games are still awesome on radio.

I know the A's radio broadcasters often struggle to fill up all the airtime when they have a particularly slow-working batter/pitcher combination, and they aren't always silent about it. Ken Korach, in particular, doesn't hesitate to mention it when the time-between-pitches has become interminable.
   110. McCoy Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:52 AM (#6048268)
Re 105.

Um, I think it would be obvious. It's a counter to the charge that there are a lot of empty seats nowadays (pre pandemic that is).
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