You just have to use your head on this one. If you want to read the exact rules or statistics there are plenty of places to find them, but it doesn’t take much to realize that MLB games take too long. In 2014 games took over three hours in general, and if you’re catching a Red Sox vs. Yankees game — like we will be this weekend — you’re probably looking at well over four hours. I enjoy both watching and attending baseball games, and am fortunate enough to have grown up with Fenway Park in my backyard. But after a winter where we set the snowfall record in Boston, if you think I’m spending three or four full hours on a summer night watching a Sox game then you’re crazy, even if it’s the Yankees.
Will I go to the game? Sure. But I’ll show up in the fourth inning to enjoy the weather, some beers and hope for Big Papi to hit a dinger for my DK lineup. Is that really what MLB wants? They’ve become almost a leisure sport. This is baseball, not golf.
Take the NBA for example. Their games this season are around two hours – which is perfect, don’t change this – but they’re still not afraid to experiment with ways to shorten the game as they did with 11-minute quarters in select preseason games. The NFL on the other hand has reached a level of popularity where their three-hour games are completely acceptable, but even if you get bored, you can just flip over to RedZone for constant action. Not to mention, your team only plays once a week! MLB is stubborn, but the changes are inevitable. It took them a while, but it looks like change is on the way starting in 2015.
Key words being “on the way,” but it’s going to take more effort than baseball has been willing to offer thus far. MLB is proudly boasting an average game length of under three hours in its brief start to the season! Congratulations, but that’s just simply giving everyone the number that they want to hear. Yes, two hours and fifty five minutes is “less than three hours,” but it’s pretty much the same thing when it comes to my time. Hockey and basketball are still almost a full hour shorter for a much more action packed game, and the NFL is still king — all of those still offer me much more for my time.
Baseball is still a great game, but in a generation where our attention span only continues to whither away, sports with more action have been grabbing the attention of younger fans. Heck, even lacrosse is beginning to rival baseball as a spring sport. Of course, with that said, cutting games down to seven innings, or eliminating the iconic home run trot are solutions that take things way too far.
The bottom line is that a MLB game has to be two and a half hours. That’s the number we need. I don’t know the best way to get there, but I know that a combination of things like a pitch clock, and not being allowed to step out of the batters box will help to get there. But this isn’t my issue to figure out, MLB. It’s yours.
Follow me on Twitter @julianedlow