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Does MLB need to speed up the game?

baseball game length

Every single year Major League Baseball games seem to be taking longer and longer. Well actually, it doesn’t just seem that, they are taking longer to play. This season the average length of a Major League Baseball game was the hours and eight minutes. A decade ago it was two hours and 51 minutes. Maybe that does not seem like a drastic change but when you consider games used to take about two hours just 30 years ago it is a pretty huge disparity.

This increase in duration of a baseball game has brought up the possibility to rule changes to speed up the game. But should baseball speed things up? Is their anything wrong with a game taking a couple of hours? Should baseball just rush the game with it possibly hurting the product on the field?

In this newest point-counter point Charlie Wright and Corey Johns take opposite sides of the argument and say why or why not baseball should speed up. From there, you pick which side you want to stand on.

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Don’t we all want to stay in the ballpark as long as possible as it is? Why shorten the game?

baseball not boring

By: Charlie Wright

Baseball has received plenty of criticism of declining attendance and poor television ratings. This has led to efforts to make the game shorter and less “boring.” Major League Baseball is considering the institution of rules to speed up the game. These would include limiting trips to the mound and regulating how much time is allowed in between innings.

I just don’t get it.

Baseball is the greatest sport in our country for precisely the fact that there is no time limit. The clock plays a major role in football and basketball games, but baseball games are solely decided by the players on the field.

For fans attending games, isn’t everyone rooting for extra innings? For baseball fans, a ballpark is the most sacred place in the world. They would stay there all day if they could, so it is ridiculous to try to rush through a game as fast as possible.

As for the baseball games being boring, I think the general population has been tainted by the steroid era. Fans became so used to high-scoring games and monstrous home runs that they have forgotten the appeal of a pitcher’s duel.

To use this postseason as an example, I felt the tight, low-scoring games played by the Nationals were just as entertaining as the slugfests played by the Orioles. I can appreciate Nelson Cruz hitting home runs against a nasty Tigers pitching staff and I can appreciate a game decided by a sacrifice bunt and an error.

As to the rule changes, I don’t think they will ever be instituted. Major League Baseball is testing out the speed-up rules in the Arizona Fall League, so we’ll see how that goes.

Most of these rules are either too minor to make a difference or unenforceable altogether.

There will be a 20-second clock for in between pitches, even though there is already a rule in place that says the ball has to be pitched within 12 seconds. This is never enforced.

Teams will be limited to two minutes and five seconds between innings and pitching changes will be limited to two minutes and thirty seconds. This may save a minute or two each inning, which is insignificant seeing as games take around three hours.

Under the new rules teams will not have to throw the pitches for an intentional walk, so I guess the MLB office wasn’t watching Game 4 of the NLDS between the Nationals and the Giants.

There is nothing wrong with baseball. Everything in our society has become so fast and immediate, but we don’t have to apply those concepts to America’s pastime. Ask anybody who went to Game 2 between the Nationals and Giants, which went 18 innings, and I bet that was the most memorable game they have ever been to. It sure was for me.

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The pacing is way too slow, baseball needs to get things moving

baseball boringBy: Corey Johns

For me a low-scoring, pitching duel in baseball is not boring, but it’s the slow pace that just makes games seem to drag on forever that makes it hard to watch and Major League Baseball needs to do something to make it move faster.

June 24, 2011 – That was the night I remember officially being sick of long, boring baseball games. It was a Friday night and I went to an Orioles-Red game with two friends and we planned on capping the night off with a trip to a night club just a few blocks over. What a fun night for a couple of single guys in their young 20’s. Well, it didn’t work out that way.

I remember vividly. Nick Markakis was up at the plate, I look up to the scoreboard and see it is the seventh inning and I look down at my iPhone to check the time and it is already 10 pm.

Games are only supposed to really last three hours, this one still had two innings to go. And then it went into extra innings. I remember that because I kept telling people around me I never leave an extra innings game because if it goes on for eight hours I would hope the Orioles would give me season tickets as a gift for my dedication. But then I started to joke the more likely scenario would be that as I walked out Peter Angelos would be their to charge me for an additional games worth of innings.

Even though that game ended with a Derek Lee walk-off home run in the 12th inning to give the Orioles a 5-4 victory, it was one of the most boring games I had ever been to. The collective feeling after the game around all the people around me in the stands was not excitement that the Orioles won, it was relief that the game was finally over.

The game only has a listed time of 3 hours and 55 minutes but I swear it was much longer than that because by the time we got out of the stadium it was really too late for us to go to the club so we just stuck around and watched the fireworks past midnight. Either that or it just felt like it lasted five hours.

If the game was exciting, I would not have cared, I don’t think anybody cares if a long baseball game is exciting. The problem was the pacing. The constant time outs from batters to adjust their batting gloves after every single swing. The multiple trips to the pitchers mounds by the catcher, and then the first baseman, and then the pitching coach, and then the shortstop…get on with it already. Now we have reviews to worry about too.

Even now, when I’m at home watching games on my television, it just does not seem worth it. Baseball is every day and games are regularly three hours long. Who has time to sit down, watch and actually pay attention to all the games. It is just too impossible. I have other things I need to do; I can’t spent three hours a night for 162 days, plus the playoffs, and do anything productive or enjoy anything else.

That is my biggest problem with the NFL adding games on Thursday. Now to follow football I have to invest 20 hours of my week in it. But that is a conversation for a different day.

Games used to be done in two hours and 90 minutes was far from an unheard of event. I could do that. I could invest 12 hours a week in watching baseball, but right now assuming a team plays only five games in a week I’m looking at at least 16 hours dedicated to the sport. It’s just too much.

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