In his Saturday column in The News & Observer, executive editor John Drescher noted that last year the average time to play a major league baseball game was nearly 3 hours, 10 minutes, up more than 20 minutes over the past five years and more than 40 minutes additional since 1970. Sunday, the NC State 6-3 baseball win over North Carolina took about 3 hours, 20 minutes.
The length of game three of a three-game series between those two rivals was due to more than an average number of hits, several walks, many visits to the mound by players and coaches, pitching changes, and deep counts. It had nothing to do with wasted time by the at-bat players or the pitchers. The game progressed in a timely fashion but seemed to last too long but not because of extra activities such as extended television commercials.
If the major leagues want to hurry its games, reduce the time taken between innings to sell products that support the TV broadcast. With commercials taking somewhere between two and three minutes, a game is extended by 36 to 54 minutes. But that will not happen. Even if one sponsor agreed to support an entire game, suggesting 30 seconds between half innings, players and managers would object, desiring the additional rest time. There are reasons the playing portion of the games has grown, and that’s due to technology. More on that in another post.
In college basketball, there are eight “media” breaks, each lasting 2 minutes, 15 seconds or nearly 20 minutes, and with the additional time from the blow of the whistle to go to the commercial and the additional time coming out of the break, media breaks add 30 minutes to a game. There’s no doubt that games will continue to expand in minutes from start to finish because of the lucrative investment by TV networks. And, that’s a shame.
Sitting in UNC’s Boshamer Stadium Sunday, it seemed as if the game was extended a bit, but when thinking back, while the pace seemed a little slow, there was nothing to do about it except to enjoy the game. With the Wolfpack victorious, a few more minutes in Chapel Hill wasn’t so bad, and we still arrived back in Cary to see the final few holes of Jordan Spieth’s wonderful win of the Masters golf tournament.
Dictionary.com word of the day
caseous (adjective) [key-see-uh s]: of or like cheese