- 0.1 How many hours do baseball games last?
- 0.2 Is baseball longer than football?
- 1 Why is baseball 9 innings long?
- 2 Why are MLB games shorter now?
- 3 How long is a Yankees game?
- 4 Why do they want to speed up baseball?
How many hours do baseball games last?
MLB – A professional baseball game in America is nine innings long and lasts about three hours. Each inning is split into halves, where the away team bats in the top half of the inning and the home team bats in the bottom half. In each half, the defending team is required to make three outs before they can switch sides and hit.
Once both teams have recorded three outs, the full inning is over. While there is no game clock in baseball, Major League Baseball has implemented a two-minute countdown between each half of an inning to ensure teams switch sides in a timely manner. Unlike in other sports such as football or basketball, there are no designated media timeouts in baseball broadcasts.
Play stops either when teams are switching sides or when a manager visits the mound, where they can either take time to talk with their pitcher or bring a new player into the game. The average inning lasts about 20 minutes, but can vary depending on how quickly and efficiently the pitcher is performing.
How long is a baseball game approximately?
The duration of a baseball game can vary, but on average, it takes about three hours to complete. However, it’s important to note that some games can be shorter, lasting approximately two hours, while others can extend to four hours or more!
Can a baseball game last 5 hours?
There is no clock in baseball so theoretically a game can turn into a long marathon. There are also no ties in baseball meaning a game can have as many extra innings as it takes to determine a winner. The MLB records for length of games are by time 8:06 and by innings, 26.
How long is an MLB baseball game about?
Key Takeaways –
The length of a baseball game is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of runs scored, managerial decisions, and other gameplay considerations. Baseball has no game clock and lasts until the game is completed, generally over nine innings. As of 2023, the Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced a pitch clock for the first time, allowing 15 seconds for each pitch with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on. This has significantly reduced the average game length by around 30 minutes, bringing it down to about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Several rules have been implemented in recent years to speed up gameplay and increase offensive production. These include banning the defensive shift, enlarging bases, and adopting the designated hitter in the National League as of 2022. In addition to the pitch clock, new rules in 2023 include making the 2020 temporary rule of placing a runner on second base in extra innings a permanent one. Offensive production, calls to the bullpen, replay reviews, slow pitchers and batters, pick-off moves and batter timeouts, arguments and fights, player and umpire injuries, weather delays, and extra innings can all contribute to longer game times. The longest professional baseball game ever was a minor league game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, which lasted 33 innings over 8 hours and 25 minutes. The longest-ever MLB game in terms of time was a 25-inning match between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984, lasting 8 hours and 6 minutes. The objective of a baseball game is for a team to score more runs than the opposing team. The game lasts nine innings, or eight and a half if the home team is ahead after the top of the ninth. If a game is tied after nine innings, it goes into extra innings until a team leads at the end of an inning. As of 2023, an average inning lasts about 16 to 18 minutes. Despite changes to the game’s rules and pace, MLB games have generally increased in length over time, with the recent introduction of the pitch clock being a significant factor in reducing game duration.
Why are baseball games so long?
This article is based on the presentation I gave at SABR 48 in Pittsburgh in 2018 to address the issue of game length which has become a hot issue in recent years. In 2014, then-commissioner Bud Selig announced the formation of a committee to investigate the issue.
Since taking office, current commissioner Rob Manfred has taken steps to reduce game time including rules changes that limit mound visits, a countdown clock between innings, and has spoken openly about the possibility of introducing a “shot clock” for every pitch. The commissioner’s concerns are not new.
Ban Johnson, the original and long-time president of the American League, was agitated by what he considered slow games as long ago as 1909. As the headline in a December 2, 1909, issue of The Sporting News reads: “Why Games Drag: Too Much Practice Time Taken Between Innings.” In the article, Johnson had noted that several games had exceeded two hours and he decided that teams took too much time throwing the ball around the infield at the start of each inning after the pitcher’s warmup throws. He was supported by veteran umpire Tom Brown who said: “The practice work does not belong in the game.” In 1925, Johnson was still banging that drum. The article noted: “Contests in the A.L. this season have frequently run more than two hours and Johnson wants to know the reason why. A report must be sent to President Johnson on all games running over two hours, with the reasons for the delays. If it is because of arguments, the guilty athletes will be punished”.
For the record, 269 of the 616 AL game that year were over 120 minutes—44%—and the league average was 120.8 minutes.1 One can only imagine what Johnson’s reaction would be to our current average game time, which is now over three hours! Why do games take so long? Various culprits have been blamed depending on who’s answering, making it high time for a sabermetric look at the issue.
I decided to take a long view to examine many years to look for patterns and trends that can be measured quantitatively. The data for this study come from Retrosheet ( www.retrosheet.org ) and I was able to study 183,224 games over the course of 108 seasons, 1908 through 2017 minus 1918-19.2 In order to make fair comparisons, it is necessary to remove games whose times were skewed, including extra-inning games, and games that ended early due to rain, curfew, or other reasons.
How has the length of the average game changed? It has definitely grown over time. Figure 1 shows the data from 1908-2017, excluding 1918 and 1919, but including the extra innings games this time to see the extreme values. Figure 1. Average minutes for all games, 1908-2017 The figure shows the expected annual variations and periods of rise as well as decline. However, when a linear regression is performed to determine the best fit line, the result shows an extremely strong direct relationship with the R 2 value (coefficient of determination) indicating that 94% of the variance in the game length is accounted for by the passage of the years.
|Year||Avg (in minutes)||Landmark|
|1934||123.6||1st year with 2+ hour average|
|1954||150.3||1st year with 2.5 hour average|
|2000||181.4||1st year with 3+ hour average|
|2017||188.7||Longest average game time|
At SABR 47 in New York, Steve Steinberg asked me what the relation was between number of pitches and game length. Retrosheet’s pitch data hav two distinct components. For the years 1947–64 we have 2,739 games from Allan Roth of the Dodgers, and from 1988 to present we have 68,566 games from Project Scoresheet, Baseball Workshop and MLBAM. There are several points to make about Figure 2. The R 2 value of 0.73 mean that the number of pitches in a game explains nearly three quarters of the variance in the time of game. That is a strong relation, although we would always like it to be more.
I did analyze the 8.5- and 9-inning games separately and also the Roth games separately from the modern ones. The Roth data fit in extremely well with the modern information so there is no need to present separate graphs. Also the calculated slopes of the lines for 8.5 and 9 inning games are only slightly different and I therefore combined them in this one figure.
This figure includes very large ranges in both pitch totals and game times. These extremes and the averages are summarized in Table 3. Table 3: Ranges and Averages of Pitch Totals and Game Length in Regulation-Length Games
|8.5 innings||9.0 innings|
Playing the bottom of the ninth adds an average of 10 minutes and 15 pitches to the game. Having seen this clear importance of the number of pitches on the time of game, I then set about looking for explanations of what would make the number of pitches increase. Runs are, of course, the net result of all offensive action. As we see here, scoring has varied over the last 110 years, but there is no obvious upward trend to match the time of game. We have still not returned to the level of scoring seen in the first 15 years of the lively ball era although the average game length then was more than an hour less than it is now.
So more scoring doesn’t give us our answer. The average number of hits per game and the changes there are pretty close to the pattern for runs, but once again there is no systematic upward trend. Walks take more pitches than other kinds of events (more details on that in a moment), but they also show little systematic change.
On the other hand, strikeouts have changed dramatically. As the lively ball era began, the number of strikeouts per game fell, being less than six per game for both teams combined until 1930. The average stayed in the mid-7 range until 1952 when it began a steady increase to a peak of 11.
In 1967. After the mound was lowered and the strike zone reduce in 1969, the average began to drop, reaching 9. in 1981. However, since then there has been a steady rise (with some short-term oscillations) and the value really took off in 2006. The strikeout rate in 2017 was 16.2 per game, the first time it has passed 16.
We must address home runs as well and those annual rates are in Figure 4. Figure 4. Home runs per regulation-length game, 1908 – 2017, both teams combined. Home runs have certainly increased since 1908, but there have been boom and bust years. As expected, there was a surge with the introduction of the lively ball in 1920, but that ended dramatically in 1940, with a drop of 42% to 0.7 per game in 1943, perhaps reflecting changes in the construction of the ball due to wartime shortages.
- That slack time was followed by a dramatic upsurge from 1945 to 1961 when it reached 1.9 per game.
- The next dramatic point was in 1987 (circled in Figure 4) which has been written about a great deal.
- There is no satisfactory explanation for this 16% spurt in a single year although there was much speculation at the time about a “juiced” ball.
Sports Illustrated published a study in which the physical properties of the 1987 ball were studied and nothing was detected to account for this large increase. The decline of 28% the next year is equally mysterious. At any rate, the next sustained increase was from 1992 to 2000, followed by a slow decline to 2014 when it was 1.7.
In the four seasons since (2014 to 2017), we have seen an extraordinary 46% increase to last year’s all-time high of just under 2.5 per game. The R 2 shows a strong relationship over time. I go through all this detail to make the point that there is a strong relationship between home run increase and strikeout increase.
This is shown clearly in Figure 5. Figure 5. Home runs and strikeouts, 1908-2017. The R 2 value of 0.69 shows a strong relation. The only other pair of variables with this close relation are hits and runs. I am led to a conclusion that others have reached as well, namely that the correspondence between home run rate and strikeout rate is one of cause and effect.
One consequence of sabermetric analysis has been that strikeouts no longer have the stigma they once did. Statcast data show launch angles and swing velocities and batters have clearly used this information to adjust their swings so that they hit the ball further. Of course, as these harder swings happen, it is much more likely that the ball will be missed, so we have a pretty clear all-or-nothing phenomenon.
I then calculated the average number of pitches for four types of event since 1988, the period for which we have pitch data for every game.
balls in play strikeouts walks and hit by pitch
These are shown in Figure 6. Figure 6. Number of pitches for each type of event. Balls in play, walks, and hit by pitch show a slight, but discernible increase with the average walk now taking 5.8 pitches to complete. These increases, especially in walks, may indicate greater patience on the part of hitters or greater concern (“nibbling”) by pitchers.
Strikeouts have not had a comparable increase in the average number of pitches, showing a remarkably stable pattern. One last way to look at this is to examine how often each type of event occurs. Figure 7 has these results, again from 1988 to 2017. This time outs on balls in play are separated from hits.
Figure 7. Percentage of different events, 1988 to 2017 There a clear inverse relation between outs on balls in play and strikeouts. Hits, walks, and hit by pitch have stayed quite steady. On average, strikeouts take 1.5 pitches more than other kinds of out, so this trade of strikeouts for outs on balls in play will also add time to the game.
In fact, all of the factors point in the same direction of contributing to increasing game length. Another important measurement is the number of plate appearances per game and their pattern of change, shown in Figure 8. This is to be expected since the scoring of more runs necessarily requires more plate appearances.
This pattern is rather similar to what we saw for scoring, which is reasonable since games with more runs will of necessity have more batters. The rapid increase in plate appearances as the lively ball was introduced and the decline with the higher mound and larger strike zone in the mid-1960s stand out, as did the changes in runs scored. Finally we must consider actions affecting game length which are not directly related to the actual playing of the game. Many of these have been blamed for lengthening game times. My choices for these are as follows:
Time between pitches (attributable to both batter and pitcher) Time between innings Replay reviews Visits to the mound Relief pitchers, especially mid-inning changes
Time between pitches has received attention from several sources in recent years. Baseball Prospectus has documented differences in pitch interval between bases empty situations and those with runners on base. Jim Albert has used PitchFX data very impressively to demonstrate among other thing that intervals are longer in the later stages of the game. Fangraphs published overall data on the time between pitches for all games since 2008.3 These results are especially interesting to me. They measured an increase in the average time between pitches of 21.6 to 24.7 seconds between 2008 and 2017 with over 40% of the difference happening in 2017. The interval has both increased and decreased over this period. If we apply the full value of 2.6 seconds to the average number of pitches in a regulation game, the conclusion is that this increased interval has added 8 minutes to the average regulation game in these last 10 years. Since the average regulation game has increased by 14.5 minutes in that time, the 8 minutes are a significant part of the increase. Grant Brisbee published an intriguing article at sbnation.com in which he did an extraordinarily detailed analysis of two comparable games, one from 1984, the other from 2014, which were available on YouTube.4 The more recent game was over 30 minutes longer and Brisbee’s biggest conclusion is that he felt it was due to “lollygagging” by both pitchers and batters. Time between innings is not routinely measured or reported so it is hard to know how long it takes to change sides, especially in earlier seasons. There have been various rules on the timing of these breaks and it is clear that the current limit of two minutes is being enforced more stringently. Replays have been with us for about a decade now and so far this year they occur about one time for every two games, similar to the rate in 2017. They were somewhat more frequent earlier in the decade. For 2018, these reviews are formally listed through June 30 as taking one minute and 23 seconds, with an average on 59 seconds “on the headset.” This does not count the potential delay of 30 seconds granted to teams to decide if they want to challenge. On the other hand, the replay system has greatly reduced the number of managerial arguments on the field, which will lead to a shorter game. So, although it will be hard to get exact numbers for the time taken by reviews, this is obviously another factor that may make games longer. Visits to the mound by the catcher, infielder, or someone from the bench (pitching coach or manager) also consume time, but I know of no data that systematically measure the time used by visits. MLB has taken some steps in this regard in 2018 by limiting mound visits to six per game per team. The visits were limited to 30 seconds beginning in 2016, the first restriction of this kind. There was consideration of imposing a 20 second limit between pitches as well this year, but that rule was not adopted. Relief pitcher usage is potentially the biggest effect on time of game. There are two kinds of relief appearances: those at the start of an inning and those that happen during an inning. It seems reasonable that the mid-inning changes should take more time than a change at the start of an inning which should be virtually identical in terms of time consumed to having the same pitcher stay in the game. Figure 10 has the data for these two aspects of relief pitcher usage. Figure 9. Average number of relief pitchers per game, both teams combined. > The line for total relievers per game goes back to 1908 because our data allow that determination. The line for mid-inning relievers starts in 1939 because that measurement requires full play by play for every game and Retrosheet’s complete seasons currently begin with 1939.
The line for total relievers has several distinct portions. First, there is a dip during each of the World Wars, although the first drop was bigger. However, there is a fairly steady overall increase from 1908 through 1968 and then a decline for most of the next decade after the changes in mound height and strike zone.
The advent of the DH had no immediate effect. From 1975 to the present, we have another long period of increase, much faster than the earlier one. The average passed 6 relievers per game for the first time in 2015 and reached 6.4 in 2017. By the way, through games of June 30, 2018, the average in 2018 is over 6.5, right in line with the recent pace of an additional tenth of a reliever per game for each year.
However, the surprising results to me are the mid-inning changes. These have increased by more than a factor of two since 1939, but essentially not at all since 1994. This indicates to me that the use of additional relief pitchers has had minimal effect on the time of games. These extra pitchers appear to be the “role” players who are dedicated to the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
Changes in bullpen use are not the culprit for why the game keeps getting longer. Although there are more batters per game than there were a century ago, the biggest part of the increase is that each plate appearance besides strikeouts takes more pitches than 30 years ago. The inclusion of the Allan Roth data reveals interesting patterns.5 The general average for his era is some 25 pitches fewer per game than current levels, but the first few years of the 1988 to 2017 interval are similar to his values. Of course, we do not know the shape of the line for 1965 to 1987, but I note that the last two years that Roth covered, 1963 and 1964, are clearly the lowest of any seasons for which we have data.
These were, of course, the first two years of the altered mound and strike zone. My major conclusion is that the single biggest factor contributing to the longer games is the number of pitches. The rise in strikeouts and related drop in outs on balls in play accounts for much of the difference over time.
I have identified other factors (and other researchers have as well), but the number of pitches stands out as predominant. DAVID W. SMITH joined SABR in 1977 and has made research presentations at 22 national SABR conventions. In 2001 at SABR 31, he won the USA Today Sports Weekly Award for his presentation on the 1951 NL pennant race.
In 2016 he won the Doug Pappas Award for his presentation on closers. In 2005 he received SABR’s highest honor, the Bob Davids Award, and in 2012 he was honored with the Henry Chadwick Award, He is founder and president of Retrosheet and an Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Delaware.
Notes 1 Of the 546 regulation-length game in 1925, 216 were over 120 minutes (40 %) and the average time was 118 minutes.2 The exclusion of 1918 and 1919 reflects the unavailability of time of game for those two seasons for more than a handful of games.
Why do baseball games start 5 minutes after?
Baseball games start at weird times. You will often see games start at five minutes after the hour, like at 1:05 or 7:05. You may even see a baseball start time of 7:07 or 7:08 or something random like that. Why do baseball games start at odd times? Baseball games start at odd times due to pregame festivities and television contracts.
Is baseball longer than football?
And as it happens, college football is currently the longest game of any major American sport: longer than the NFL, and more than an hour longer than college basketball and NBA games, and slightly longer than baseball games.
Is baseball the longest sport?
Major Professional Sports Leagues: The US & Canada Professional sports leagues have become one of the most lucrative entertainment industries in the world. According to a report by the Businesswire, the global sports market will reach a value of US$614.1 billion by 2022.
- As per expectation, it is likely to grow at a CAGR of 5.9%.
- The big four professional sports in the USA are the NFL, the MLB, the NBA, and the NHL.
- Other leagues are the MSL and the CFL.
- These sports leagues tend to have a huge fan following around the world.
- In 2018, the average number of fans who attended the games of these six leagues was 15,000.
Let’s understand these leagues better.1- Major League Baseball In the US, MLB is the oldest professional sports league. Major League Baseball consists of 30 teams. Out of these 30 teams, 15 teams play in the National League and the other 15 in the American League.
- The MLB season, with 162-games, is the longest of the major American sports.
- After the regular season, the highest-ranking teams enter playoff games.
- Total eight teams, four from each league, get into the playoffs.
- Eventually, the winner from the AL and the NL plays in the World Series.
- Thus, the champion of the season is determined.
After the NFL, MLB is the wealthiest professional sports league by revenue. In 2019, MLB revenue was around US$10.7 billion, 2- National Football League The NFL, formed in 1920, is America’s most popular professional sports league. It consists of 32 franchises, divided between NFC and AFC, competing each year to win the world’s biggest annual sports event, the Super Bowl. There is a further subdivision of 16 teams of each conference in four four-team divisions that are North, South, East, and West.
- Each division winner enters the playoffs, and there are two non-division winners wild card entries as well.
- Playoffs consist of four rounds.
- The Super Bowl is the last round, where two conference champions compete with each other to determine the league champion.
- As per revenue, the NFL is the wealthiest professional sports league.
In 2018, the NFL was the most profitable sports league, with US$16 billion in revenue, 3- National Basketball Association The NBA, founded in 1946, is an American professional basketball league. It consists of 30 teams, with two conferences of 15 teams each. Each team plays 82 games. There are further three divisions of these 15 teams in each conference. 4- National Hockey League The NHL, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest major professional team sports league in North America. The NHL consists of 31 clubs in two conferences and four divisions. The three highest-placed teams in each division from each conference enter the playoffs. 5- Major League Soccer The MLS, founded in 1993, is a professional soccer league authorized by the United States Soccer Federation. It celebrates its 25th Season in 2020, featuring 26 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. It comprises 23 in the U.S.
- And three in Canada.
- The MLS is planning to expand the number of teams to 30 by the 2023 season.
- The regular-season of MLS starts from late February to October.
- In the 2020 MLS season, each team plays two games against every team in its conference.6- Canadian Football League The CFL, officially founded in 1958, is a professional sports league in Canada.
It consists of nine teams located in nine major cities across the country. In 2012, the CFL celebrated the 100th year of the Grey Cup, which is a championship game and the largest single-day sporting event in Canada. The 2019 CFL season featured a 21-week regular season, with 18 games with three bye weeks.
- After the regular season, six teams compete in the three-week divisional playoffs to enter the Grey Cup championship game in late November.
- Final Thoughts The above listed major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are going global, drawing the attention of a growing fan base outside the US.
All six sports leagues enjoy wide-ranging media coverage, making a positive impact in North America and Europe, both in terms of business and on the field.
How long is the longest MLB game?
Longest MLB game ever – The longest game in Major League history went on for a whopping 26 innings, The Brooklyn Robins vs. the Boston Braves game on May 1, 1920, took almost four hours. Today, we know the Robins by a different name – the Los Angeles Dodgers,
- Likewise, the Boston Braves are today’s Atlanta Braves,
- After 26 innings, the score was tied 1-1, The New York Times reported in 1920.
- It was only called off because of how dark it was outside.
- According to the MLB, both starting pitchers – Leon Cadore for the Robins and Joe Oeschger for the Braves – pitched the entire length of the game.
The longest MLB game in terms of time was in 1984 between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers. The 25-inning game ran for a total of eight hours and six minutes and was completed over two days. According to the MLB, the teams played the first 17 innings on May 8 but paused with a tied 3-3 because of an American League rule prohibiting new innings after 1 a.m.
Why is baseball 9 innings long?
Why is a game 9 innings? These are the backstories behind baseball’s iconic rules Vintage print of a runner rounding the bases in an early New York baseball game (hand-colored lithograph), 1891. Published in New York by Louis Prang & Company. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images) (GraphicaArtis/Getty Images) For decades, baseball has remained such a constant that its rules and structure have become as cherished as its greatest players.
The run-scoring environment might have changed a bit since 1905, but the fundamental look and feel of the game hasn’t. Legendary sportswriter and Spink Award winner Red Smith, as always, said it best: “Ninety feet between bases is perhaps as close as man has ever come to perfection.”But, while Red certainly had a point, the story behind that perfection was less divine intervention than a whole lot of trial and error.
So, how did baseball get here? Why are there four balls and three strikes, anyway? You have questions, we have answers. Why do pitchers throw overhand? of the world aside, baseball history has been written by men throwing overhand. But it wasn’t always this way: For decades, every pitcher had to throw with their arm directly perpendicular to the ground, as you can make out in this illustration of a game from the 1860s: (Incidentally, this is also why they’re referred to as “pitchers” – they pitched the ball in the traditional sense of the term, with a stiff underhanded motion, almost like tossing a horseshoe.)If that sounds like a pretty easy time for hitters, well, that was the point.
- Baseball evolved from other stick and ball games like cricket, so, like in those games, pitchers weren’t originally intended to be in opposition to the batter.
- Their purpose was simple: Offer the ball up in a hittable position and get out of the way.
- Presumably tired of getting shelled year after year, pitchers like Tommy Bond started pushing the envelope inch by inch, creating greater speed and movement with essentially sidearm deliveries – until, in 1872, the perpendicular rule was relaxed to allow for greater range of motion.
At that point, all bets were off: Pitchers – recognizing that they could throw harder, locate better and throw more ferocious breaking balls – began to creep their release point all the way up to a three-quarters arm slot by the early 1880s. Finally, in 1884, Cincinnati Red Stockings boss and “Father of Professional Baseball” Harry Wright made it official: Pitchers could deliver the ball any way they wanted.
The move fundamentally changed the relationship to the batter, and changed much of the game with it – from the rule stipulating that batters where the pitch was thrown to the function of balls and strikes. Speaking of which, Why are batters given four balls and three strikes? “Three strikes you’re out” has been a foundational rule of baseball since the very beginning – it was even codified in the 1845 Knickerbocker Rules, thought to be some of the very first written rules of the game.
For everything else, though, it’s been a long and winding road. Again, baseball’s primary objective in the mid-19th century was to let batters put the ball in play as much as possible. So, naturally, those batters were given plenty of chances to make that happen.
And we do mean plenty: Initially, called strikes didn’t even exist, and when they were instituted in 1858, they came with caveats – the first pitch couldn’t be a called strike, and umpires were required to warn each batter that a certain pitch would be called a strike in the future. But that’s not all! The idea of a “ball” didn’t yet exist, either, so eventually pitchers recognized that they could continue to deliver pitches well wide of the plate and wait for the batter to get impatient.
As you might imagine, this created some, uh, pretty drastic pace of play concerns: Batters, free to wait for the perfect pitch, would see up to 40-50 pitches per at-bat – in one 1860 game between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Brooklyn Excelsiors, 665 pitches were thrown,
- Over three innings,Games were routinely called due to lack of daylight, so, in 1863, called balls were instituted.
- Even when the concept was introduced, though, it was slowly and tentatively: Only every third “unfair” pitch was called a ball, meaning a batter could only walk after nine (!) pitches outside of the strike zone.
As run-scoring declined and pitchers began to do more than just feed batters, the rule was frequently adjusted – first to eight balls, then to seven, then to six and so on, until in 1889, the league settled on four. Why nine innings (and why nine men in a lineup)? In baseball’s infancy, not only was it a game without a clock, but it was also a game without a set number of innings.
Instead, teams played until one of them scored 21 aces – the 19th century equivalent of a run. This wasn’t a problem at first, in an age in which scoring runs was pretty commonplace – games lasted in the 1840s, and featured scores as high as, A problem was brewing, though: As skill levels increased and pitching caught up to hitting, those 21 aces were harder and harder to come by.
After an 1856 game ended in a 12-12 tie on account of darkness, it was clear that a change needed to be made. Enter Alexander Cartwright, founder of the Knickerbocker Club and definitely not a real fireman: That begged the question: Exactly how many innings was the right amount? At that point, the Knickerbockers were torn between seven or nine men to a side – it all depended on how many were available that day – and for consistency’s sake, the number of players dictated the number of innings played.
Alas, this couldn’t be decided without some good old-fashioned squabbling. From MLB official historian John Thorn: In an 1856 Knickerbocker meeting, backed a motion to permit nonmembers to take part in intramural games if fewer than eighteen Knicks were present, Duncan F. Curry countermoved that if fourteen Knickerbockers were available, the game should admit no outsiders and be played shorthanded, as had been their practice since 1845.
Sensing that an official ruling was necessary as more and more baseball teams were formed, the Knickerbockers decided to form a committee in 1856 to tackle the issue. The desire for more competitive defense won out, and nine innings – and nine men – became the standard for good.
Why 162 games? Initially, baseball’s scheduling was simple: In 1920, the American and National Leagues both had eight teams, and each team would play its league rival 22 times, giving us the 154-game slate that would last for four decades. And then expansion happened. In 1961, the AL added the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators.
The next year, the NL welcomed the New York Mets and the Houston Colt,45s. (Yes, this did lead to one year in which the AL’s schedule was slightly longer – they both covered the same number of days, but the NL got more days off.) Suddenly, the simple math was slightly more complicated: Each team playing every other team in the league 22 times would have resulted in an untenable 198-game schedule.
So, MLB cut it to 18 games against each league rival, and 162 games was born. But, while that number has endured, it hasn’t been without some controversy as further expansions made the calculation a bit trickier: 76 games within the same division, 66 against non-divisional league opponents and 20 Interleague games.
A bit involved? Sure. But, as Thorn to Mental Floss back in 2014, good luck changing it: “Baseball is a religion. It becomes the 11th commandment: 162 games.” How did home plate get its shape? Believe it or not, home plate wasn’t always the square-triangle hybrid we know today.
- Until the turn of the 20th century, games used just about any object teams could find, be it made of metal, marble or even glass.
- The only thing that mattered was the shape: Home plate had to be circular.
- As you may have already guessed, this posed a problem: Imagine sliding into home, only to find your leg scraped or sliced by a piece of rock.
(Robert Keating, the man who patented the design for the rubber, even complained that tapping one’s bat on home would ” “.) So, in the 1880s, changes were made. The National League mandated a rubber or marble plate in 1885, and in 1887, home plate was transformed into a 12 inch-by-12 inch square – in line with the other three bases.
- This posed difficulties of its own, though – it was awfully hard to tell whether or not a ball caught the corner when the corner was as small as a single point.
- The solution? Create a base that was a forward-facing square in the front, to allow for a longer line demarcating the strike zone, while maintaining the diamond look at the back.
Why is it 60 feet, six inches to home? If you think Aroldis Chapman is impressive now, consider: If Chapman had pitched back in 1888, when the mound was just 50 feet away from home plate, he likely at around 125 mph. For much of the game’s early history, the distance from pitcher to home plate was a fuzzy concept – the Knickerbocker Rules didn’t settle on a fixed distance, and by the 1870s, pitchers simply had to stay within a box whose front edge was 45 feet from the front of home plate (again, similar to cricket, though the pitcher wasn’t allowed a running start).
- This worked for a while,
- Until pitchers began to move beyond the simple underhand delivery.
- In 1880, Lee Richmond tossed the first perfect game in Major League history, and John Ward followed up with one of his own just five days later.
- The two games – along with the fact that the National League ERA that year was – sent shockwaves through professional baseball,
and not simply because of Ward’s Snidely Whiplash facial hair. Over the next few years, pitching moved closer to what we know today. Looking to goose offense, the front of the pitcher’s box was moved back to 50 feet away, and by 1887 – with overhand deliveries now the law of the league – pitchers were required to start their delivery with their feet 55.5 feet from home.Desperate for some offense with fan attendance on the decline, the Senior Circuit moved the box back one more time.
Why are MLB games shorter now?
A greatly improved pace – Tuesday night the Marlins and Twins played a throwback game in Miami. Reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara tossed a three-hit shutout in the 1-0 win and the game took only 1:57, There was one sub-2:00 nine-inning game from 2020-22 (the Cardinals and Rays played a 1:54 game last June 9) and there were only three such games from 2016-22.
Thanks largely to the pitch timer, the average time of game is down to 2:38 per nine innings this season. It was 3:03 last season and 2:38 is the lowest since 1984 (2:35). The pitch timer – 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with runners on – is not really about time of game though. It’s about reducing dead time within games, and shorter games are a byproduct.
Here, via Statcast, are the “pace” numbers early this season. This is the average time between pitches within a single at-bat, so not counting the final pitch of one at-bat and the first pitch of the next at-bat:
2019: 22.9 seconds 2020: 23.2 seconds 2021: 23.7 seconds 2022: 23.1 seconds 2023: 18.6 seconds
The dip from 2021 to 2022 can be attributed to PitchCom. Not everyone used it, but many pitchers did, and the system allowed them to skip looking in to the catcher for the signs. That improved the game’s pace a tad. Look at that 2023 number though! Statcast launched in 2015 and 18.6 seconds is far and away the lowest pace on record.
The previous record low was 22.5 seconds in 2018. The league’s pace is down 4.5 seconds per pitch, That’s 4.5 fewer seconds of the pitcher fidgeting around, the hitter adjusting his batting gloves, and crowd shots of fans looking at their phones. It’s also 4.5 fewer seconds of tension in the late innings of close games.
That tension hasn’t been eliminated though. It still exists, only in a condensed state. To each his own, but to me a few extra seconds of tension late in the game isn’t worth a lot of extra seconds of guys standing around earlier in the game. The late innings haven’t lacked excitement thus far.
- As for pitch timer violations, teams are averaging 0.80 violations per game in the early going, with the majority going to pitchers (particularly relievers).
- On Tuesday, Manny Machado became the first player ejected for arguing a pitch timer violation, though he argued he called time before being hit with the violation, not the violation itself.
Teams averaged close to 1.50 pitch timer violations per game the first week of spring training, and have gradually whittled it down to 0.80. That number will never be zero, though it will come down more as players adjust. In Triple-A last season, teams averaged close to two violations per game the first week of the season, and were down to one violation every other game a few weeks later.
Do they ever stop a baseball game?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In baseball, an official game ( regulation game in the Major League Baseball rulebook) is a game where nine innings have been played, except when the game is scheduled with fewer innings, extra innings are required to determine a winner, or the game must be stopped before nine innings have been played, e.g.
Due to inclement weather. The term “official game” is mainly used in the context of a game that is stopped before nine innings have been played, though it has been used for other promotional purposes. A game that is stopped (“called” in the MLB rulebook) by the umpires before the regulation number of innings have been played may be considered an official game if five innings have been played ( 4 + 1 ⁄ 2 innings if the home team is in the lead), unless the game meets one of the conditions for a suspended game,
An official game that is stopped in this way is ended at the point of stoppage and statistics are added to each team’s totals, while a suspended game is resumed from the point of stoppage at a later time. A game that is stopped before five innings have been played is considered “no game” unless it can be considered a suspended game; statistics accumulated before the stoppage are not counted and replay of the game is subject to the league rules.
Is baseball a 5 or 7 game series?
Series (baseball) In, a series refers to two or more consecutive games played between the same two teams. Historically and currently, professional baseball season revolves around a schedule of series, each typically lasting three or four games. In college baseball, there are typically midweek single games and weekend series, with all conference games in series of three games, with the second and fourth rounds of the NCAA Division I playoffs being best two out of three game series.
- These series are often geographically grouped, allowing teams to visit adjacent cities conveniently.
- This is known in baseball as a road trip, and a team can be on the road for up to 20 games, or 4-5 series.
- When a team hosts series at home (mainly two-four consecutive series), it is called a homestand,
During the Major League Baseball Postseason, there are four (two in each League), each of which are a best-of-3 series. The remainder of the Postseason consists of the, which is a best-of-5 series, and the, which is a series, followed by the, a series to determine the Major League Baseball Champion.
How long is a Yankees game?
How Long Does a New York Yankees Game Last? – You can expect a New York Yankees game to last slightly over three hours on average, but it is worth noting that some games can last closer to four hours depending on pace of play. In 2021, the average Major League Baseball game lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes ( source ).
The length of games has become a point of emphasis for Major League Baseball as many fans site pace of play as one thing they’d like to see improve with the sport. In recent years, Major League Baseball has taken steps to help shorten the length of games, but the effectiveness of these measures is still under evaluation.
Major League Baseball games consist of nine total innings, with the exception of double header games which are only 7 total innings in length. If you are heading to Yankee Stadium, planning for a 3-4 hour game is probably the safest bet. To read more, visit our article about the length of baseball games,
How many innings are in baseball?
Where did the idea of 9 innings come from? – In Major League Baseball (MLB), an official game must have nine innings played in order for the game to be considered complete. This regulation has been a part of baseball’s history since 1857 when Alexander Cartwright first laid out the rules and regulations for playing the game of baseball.
The reason behind this rule is that it allows major league pitchers to face 27 batters, which can help teams decide who they want to keep on their roster during championship series. In addition, if a team is winning after eight or more innings are completed in MLB games, then an automatic runner will be placed at second base as per division rules.
However, if the score remains tied after nine innings, then extra innings may continue until one side gets ahead.
What happens if a baseball game goes too long?
If the game goes on too long then the umpire can suspend it, but the game will be completed later unless (1) the game does not affect the championship, and (2) the two teams do not have a scheduled game. This is very rare.
Why is baseball so hard to play?
The Combination of Physical and Mental Detriments – A football regular season is 16 games, with a basketball one featuring 82 games. These numbers of course are in a normal, non Covid-19 season. A baseball regular season features 162 games per year. This abundance of games not only drains the players physical stamina, but also mental stamina.
The players not only need to be locked in all game long, they truly need to be locked in for months at a time. This is a tough task, especially with the injury risk. Baseball is the hardest sport because this fatiguing season requires players to take care of their body for longer. Each player exerts max energy every single swing, pitch, or throw, and it takes a lot of hard work to keep their bodies at maximum efficiency to be able to play all season long.
Being good at baseball requires short term success and a lot of talent in specific physical areas, but it also requires more mental discipline and mental strength than any other sport. This combination of physical and mental tests is the x-factor in why baseball is so difficult to play at a high level.
Why do they want to speed up baseball?
New MLB rules aim to shorten games, expand audiences \n\t\t\t Major League Baseball is back this week, and this year, the sport has a slate of new rules — all aimed at speeding up games. The hope is that if they’re shorter, they’ll attract more fans to the ballpark, TV and streaming.
- Baseball games are slow, said Stefan Szymanski, a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan.
- The batters spend a lot of time hanging around when they come up to bat.
- The pitchers spend a lot of time winding up to pitch,” he said.
- But now, there will be a pitch clock.
- At most, pitchers will have 20 seconds to throw the ball.
“By speeding it up, you can make it more exciting, and so will attract more fans and, in the end, make more money,” Szymanski said. Shorter games could sustain the sport in the long run, according to, associate professor of sport management at the University of South Carolina.
But Ballouli worries that the pitch clock will take away some of the things that make televised baseball enjoyable — like in a ninth-inning at-bat in the playoffs.”Having only 15 seconds to capture the look on the manager’s face, the look of the dugout and not having any time to even scan the nervous fans,” he said. At least those fans will get home at a reasonable hour.
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Do people leave baseball games early?
Are MLB’s new rules working? How long you stay at the stadium might hold the answer Time of game is important, but time-you-stayed-in-your-seat might be just as important. The first step in evaluating baseball’s new rules is seeing whether they function as intended.
- It’s early, but the pitch clock sure seems to check that box: through the first four days of the season, the average game time was 2 hours, 38 minutes, or a 30-minute drop compared to the first four days of 2022.
- If that holds up, a more macro discussion takes center stage: Is the sport now more entertaining? That’s the whole point, after all.
One answer to that question can be discerned from when fans decide to leave a game. At least in recent years, baseball fans have left stadiums “significantly earlier” than fans at other sporting events, said Rachel Goodger, chief revenue officer of CrowdIQ, a company that tracks fan movement at ballparks.
“It’s just been such a focus in baseball,” Goodger said. “Unless there’s a blowout in the, typically fans are staying until the end. Same thing with the and and, Baseball is really one of those sports that the egress has been, I think, a pain point. Obviously, the rule change is trying to keep fans in the ballpark for the entirety of the game.
“A baseball game isn’t much different from an NFL game, as far as time. It’s not a time commitment thing. It’s, I think, what’s happening on the field, and keeping you engaged. And is that fun to watch? And is that going to keep your Gen Z fan base, who you’re trying to draw into the sport, off their phones and paying attention?” Using data from 2018-22 collected from six partner teams, CrowdIQ found that more fans are in their seats about 45 minutes into the game than at any other point, at close to 95 percent. The percentage drops to around 90 at the two-hour mark, and then 80 at 2 hours, 30 minutes.
It takes a sharp turn from there: a half hour later, about 60 percent of fans are in their seats. Goodger noted that fan habits vary from market to market and the time of year. People spend more time at games during the summer, when school is out. Teams that have a lot of bars and attractions around the ballpark in city centers might also see fans leave earlier.
But the overall picture is one MLB acknowledges. Commissioner Rob Manfred himself pointed to the 2-hour, 30-minute mark just last week. When MLB was experimenting with these rule changes in the minor leagues, they monitored the effect of shorter game times on concession sales.
- The discovery that concessions were unaffected was likely comforting to the league, in one sense, but was disconcerting in another.
- When we went from no clock to a clock and lost the 26 minutes, what we found is that there was no decrease in our concession sales,” Manfred said during an executive luncheon hosted by the Paley Media Council in New York.
“And we think the reason for that is people kind of, in their head, have two and a half hours set aside to do this baseball game. So before the clock, if two and a half hours was at the end of six (innings), they were gone, OK? Now, they stayed until the end of the game, and we’ve seen absolutely no decline on the concession side.
- And that’s a really important indicator of how serious the problem was that we were trying to deal with.” It’s easy for teams to track when fans show up to the park, because they can review what time people scan their tickets to enter.
- But determining when they’re in their seats or not requires more effort, and potentially, a third-party vendor.
CrowdIQ installs cameras at different stadiums in various sports and then uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to discern movement and characteristics. “Anything you and I can deduce from an image, a computer can be trained to detect,” Goodger said.
- So if we look at a photo, you could assume male or female, approximate age, if there’s somebody in their seat or not, if they’re wearing, you know, the home team merchandise or away team merchandise, things like that.
- We’re essentially doing that every 10 to 15 minutes.” Asked about privacy concerns, Goodger said CrowdIQ does not use facial recognition, and the data is delivered as per-section.
“We can’t tell you who anybody in the venue is,” Goodger said. “If the cameraman for a team took a photo or we’re panning the crowd on TV, and we push pause, and you and I sat there and we’re like, ‘All right, how many fans are wearing a Braves hats or Braves jerseys? How many kids are sitting there?’ That’s the exact same thing that we’re able to do.
Ethically, and legally, (facial recognition is) not a headache that we want to get into right now. I know a lot of teams are focused on kind of the identifiable personal information. But from our perspective, we think the crowds as a whole are just much more interesting.” Aggregate demographics and movement trends are valuable to teams.
Ticket-purchase records don’t always represent the people coming to the park. Children aren’t making the purchases themselves. The average age of people who attend MLB games is in the mid- to late-30s, depending on the team, CrowdIQ found — lower than many people would assume, Goodger said.
The company has cameras installed in 18 venues across the U.S., spanning the five major men’s sports. That includes five MLB stadiums currently, with the largest presence in the NFL, where eight stadiums had cameras last season. Among other insights CrowdIQ has gleaned: • Last season, more Gen Z NFL fans stayed in their seats at halftime compared to older fans.
It prompts a question of whether teams should cater halftime entertainment to a younger audience. • At NFL games, fewer people wear jerseys of the road team than might be assumed. Even when it looks like the crowd might be closer to a split, the road team typically only accounts for about 15 percent of the jerseys worn.
- There aren’t typically as many opposing team fans in a venue as a home team thinks there are,” Goodger said.
- We’ve literally had teams to come back and they’re like, ‘We need you to rerun this data, it’s not accurate.’ We’ll pull up the actual images for them and say, ‘If you want to go ahead and manually count these sections just to validate it in your head, be my guest,’ and they will.
And it’s really kind of crazy to start to see that, though, because your eyes start to play tricks on you.” Baseball’s new rules could affect movement in myriad ways: do fans miss more action when they head to the restroom or for a hot dog? Do they leave their seats less frequently now? But the most important item CrowdIQ will be tracking this year might be how long you watch a game before calling it a night.
Why are MLB games so early?
Why do MLB games start at incremental times; e.g.7:05, 6:10, etc? Usually, it’s because the associated TV broadcast starts on the hour or half hour, and the reporters are given time to do an introduction before play begins.
Why do games start at 7 37?
As Quora User mentioned, games are scheduled to start after the hour to allow time for pre-game rituals (anthem, first pitch, line-up) and commentary (and a commercial break) in TV broadcasts, which start on the hour.
What is the longest time for a baseball game?
Longest professional baseball game ever – The longest professional baseball game ever was in the minor leagues. The Pawtucket Red Sox played the Rochester Red Wings on April 18, 1981, in a 33-inning game that spanned two days. After eight straight hours, the league president instructed umpires to suspend the game in the 32nd inning.
What’s the longest baseball game ever played?
MLB game length in 2022 – In recent years, Major League Baseball has put an emphasis on speeding up games. There is still a lot of work to be done with pitch clocks, fewer pitching changes and more adaptations on the way in the future. For now, there seem to be some signs of progress, per Baseball-Reference. While new MLB rules to shorten games aren’t taking place until 2023, minor changes and an emphasis on speeding up the tempo of games had an influence. The average MLB game in 2022 last 3 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds which is down significantly from the average in 2021 and an improvement over the average game time dating back to 2016.
How much active time is in a baseball game?
The Action in a Baseball Game Is About 18 Minutes – WSJ.
Do baseball games last 2 days?
Bonus Info: How Long Junior Varsity Baseball Games Last? – This segment isn’t quite as popular as other leagues. Yet, junior tournaments are organized in some regions. The match in the junior league takes the same time frame as high school baseball games.