I like apple pie, my country and yes, baseball. Nothing says “spring” like Opening Day, but frankly by Memorial Day it’s time to put a wreath on the television, play Taps and head for other shorter sports entertainment, like watching my dog chase bees (she really does this).Is it my imagination or do baseball games seem to go on forever these days?I thought it was just me until my much-loved Boston Red Sox commentator Jerry Remy hinted that a recent game was a snoozer. And not because it was necessarily a boring game (it was) but because it was (probably) past his bedtime. I feel your pain “RemDawg”.
According to MLB.com the average length of a nine inning game in the 1970s was approximately two hours and 30 minutes. In the early 2000s, games increased by about 50 minutes and they keep getting longer thus ensuring ballparks sell more hot dogs and more people are late to work the next day.
Longest opening game in recent years:
|Toronto 7 vs. Cleveland 4||
If a game goes long because there is more action, most fans will tolerate a game that pushes three hours. But if the game is boring and the players delay the game with everything from lengthy ritualistic set-ups to extra long chats on the mound, fans can get annoyed. Suppose before serving my hungry family a hearty meal I tied my apron three times, pulled up my hair, relayed potential leftovers to the dog and then stirred the pot one more time? The pizza guy would be behind the door faster than I could cry FOUL!
We know the increased game time is not all directly related to the players. Millions of dollars are made from television and radio commercials featuring geckos, fast food chains and car manufacturers, all ingredients necessary to fill up the equivalent of a standard work day. This explains why a night game that goes long might result in an employee showing up in the morning a bit bleary-eyed, sporting a foam finger and wreaking of stale beer.
Although not officially connected with Major League Baseball, as a concerned fan I feel compelled to offer some suggestions for getting the game time to within a reasonable length. The following represents some ideas worthy of consideration:
New Rules to Speed Up A Baseball Game – Regulation Play
1. Limit each team to four time outs per game.
Two 30-second and two one-minute time outs per game. When used up, that’s it. No more secret “talking into your cap” meetings at the mound to discuss strategy or the best steak house in town. And tie your shoes before you take the field. What are you six? Violation of the rule costs your team an automatic out.
2. No warm-up pitches.
What’s going on in the bullpen anyway? Words With Friends? This goes for relief pitchers too. And “adjust” whatever is it you adjust under your panties. Get to the mound ready to play.
3. Enforce the 12-second pitch clock.
If the pitcher doesn’t get the pitch off in time, the batter takes a base. In compromise, rig the mound to vibrate at 10-seconds as a courtesy warning.
4. Relieve the pitcher without fanfare.
The coach gives a come-hither finger, a whistle, a nod, whatever gets the pitcher’s attention that says: You’re out of the game buddy. No need for everybody to gather at the mound so the coach can take the ball away. It’s a bit touchy-feely, and it wastes time. Football coaches don’t storm the field to take the ball from the quarterback.
5. Signaling the intentional walk.
We know you’re gonna do it, so do it . Pitch one ball away and call it a day. Oh the drama of it all…
6. Use a game clock.
Say 14 minutes per inning, 7 minutes for each team or until you get three outs, whichever comes first. A solid 126 minute game (just a tad over 2 hours, but who’s counting? All of us!). Add in the commercials and field switching, the aforementioned time-outs, the occasional bench clearing rumble and we’ve got ourselves a ball game people.
More Rules to Speed Up a Baseball Game – Extra Innings
Should the long enough already game go into extra innings, a few new rules might keep the die-hard fans awake in their seats:
1. Dismiss the seventh inning ban on beer sales. Open the taps and pass out FREE HOT DOGS.
2. Add an additional player to the field for each additional inning. Might look a bit like a T-ball game but the humor would not be lost on tired fans.
3. Only allow one pitch per at bat. A ball is a walk, a strike is an out, a hit is a hit.
Longest extra innings game
|AL||Chicago 7 vs. Milwaukee 6||
These are my suggestions to shorten the life of a baseball game and ensure the health and welfare of fans and hot dog vendors throughout the ballparks of America.
What are some of your suggestions?
Stephanie Dell is a humorist in her own mind who writes an unfair and unbalanced blog on social living experiences and believes a dog and a beer are essential ingredients for a happier life.