|Illustration by John S. Dykes|
Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal
As the major league baseball season nears the end of its first month of the 2015 season, and as college baseball enters the last few weeks of its regular season, the debate over the length of baseball games—the time it takes to play a 9-inning game—continues. This subject was touched on a few weeks ago in this space.
Some of the best baseball games you’ll experience are 1-0 pitching gems, but a pitching duel—exciting to some—is boring to the casual baseball observer, even if the game lasts but two hours. On the other hand, a 13-12 game could extend to 18 innings and take several hours, too long to most but very exciting if you can stay the entire game. There’s a fine line that determines a good baseball game under time constraints.
Part of the problem of the time it takes to play a complete game comes from advancements in technology that has generated more detailed scouting reports causing pitchers and catchers to take more time to determine the right pitch for the circumstance. Field managers have such in-depth intelligence (baseball brains, not necessarily other types) they take additional time to move the fielders around, sometimes leaving half the field uncovered because of the tendency of a batter to pull the ball to the right or left side of the field, especially against certain pitchers.
The length of time of a baseball game will not be reduced by the minutes and seconds taken between half innings. Because of the money television pays to baseball, there’s always a chance of the time between half innings expanding. So MLB has put the onus on the players, managers, and umpires to speed up the game when commercials are not being shown. There’s the time between pitches to reduce, and the time batters can adjust their equipment, including but not limited to their batting gloves and batting helmet. And other time.
About three weeks ago, there was a good article—The Plan to Speed Up Baseball—in The Wall Street Journal. It was written by Matthew Futterman. The story offers the reader a comprehensive look at the dilemma in which baseball finds itself with the fans. The article is extensive, but you’ll get through it much quicker than you will a game. Baseball fans should read it. Within that story, there is a link to a related article written in October 2013: Why Kids Aren’t Watching Baseball. It's another interesting read on the state of baseball today.
Dictionary.com word of the day
sang-froid (noun) [sahn-frwa]: coolness of mind; calmness; composure