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Post #758 that Baseball is Too Slow

May 24, 2014

If you see an interesting link you think the Blog can use, send it in. We’re desperate for content. Today Mendoza graciously sends in Sabremetric analysis of a frequent Blog complaint: baseball games run too long. Here it is:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/what-happened-to-the-12-second-rule-in-baseball-why-are-mlb-games-longer-052414

The executive summary is that games are long and getting longer, replay is not to blame, and that games could be sped up if umpires just enforce the existing rules that baseball players, you know, play ball.

The writer, Ben Lindbergh,  expects blowback, much blowback, from veteran pitchers who like to take their time and from hitters who like to undress and dress after each pitch. OK, let them yell. I want to get back to where baseball games were 2.5 hours like when I was a kid, not the 3.14 hours they are now (and rising). 

The article does a pretty good job but one thing I didn’t see it tackle is an argument I’m hearing more of recently: “Football is 3, 3.5 hours. Nobody complains about that.” Well, football teams ask their fans to tune in once a week for four months. Baseball teams ask for devotion six days a week for six months.

What really gets my goat is people saying “if you force them to play faster, that breaks with tradition”. No, it doesn’t. Because tradition was two-hour baseball.

I would actually change a bunch of rules (“he who starts pitching the inning finishes the inning–injury replacement is automatic DL”, “you can’t step out of the batters’ box unless you make contact”, “two pitcher-catcher conferences on the mound per pitcher, and the whole infield doesn’t get to join in”…) but if you just want to enforce what’s already on the books, you have 212 seconds to pitch a ball, I’m OK with that.

Just please, do something. 

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