Today marks the anniversary of the end of professional baseball’s longest game ever played as the Rochester Red Wings defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox 3 to 2 in 33 innings. The game started on April 18th, 1981 and was suspended at 4 am on April 19, 1981. The game was resumed the next time the Red Wings were in Pawtucket, which turned out to be five days later on April 23, 1981.  You talk about a long baseball game?

That was then and this is now. One of the biggest complaints today about Major League Baseball games is the time it takes to play them.  MLB has been trying to address this issue by taking steps to speed up the games. In 2019 the average time to play a game was 3 hours, 5 minutes and 35 seconds for a nine-inning game.  That was up by 5 minutes over the previous year. In 2018 the average time was 3 hours and 44 seconds.

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MLB has been changing rules to speed up play including limiting pitching changes, and the time between pitches being thrown. Other speed-up rules are being tested in the minor leagues to pick up the pace of games.

What Major League Baseball is missing, or at least not will to address, is the amount of advertising being done between innings. It is obvious to me that less commercials will shorten the length of a game. In a 9-inning game, if you cut out 1-minute of commercial time between innings you would save 17 minutes of game time.

All baseball needs to do is charge more for the commercials and play less of them and revenue won’t need to change. Doing this would make fans at home and at the stadiums happy as well as the ball players too. The answer seems so simple.

 

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