More MLB Pace of Play Nonsense

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin talking shorter MLB games:

  • The time between a third out of one half-inning and the first pitch of the next has gone down, from 3:30 to 3:18. That’s the first decrease in a decade, and comes not from cutting commercials, but from batters and pitchers being urge to be ready as soon as ad breaks are over.

  • The time between pitches is down one second from last season, which is the function of new emphasis on hitters remaining in the batter’s box for the duration of an at-bat.

Here we go again. MLB must be ecstatic that the media is pushing this spin on improved game length. But the problem is that this doesn’t really address the pace of the actual gameplay. The time shortened is almost exclusively time where the game was already stopped.

Let’s say you are running laps on a track. You run each lap in a casual 2 minutes. Then you take a 1 minute break in between laps. If that break is shortened to 55 seconds, it means the whole exercise will take less time, but it doesn’t mean that the actual running of laps is faster. There is a difference.

Shaving one second off each pitch is not noticeable. If this is all MLB was trying to accomplish, they did not succeed. Instead of quoting a bunch of statistics, they should be talking to fans. The games don’t feel faster, or shorter. All of the time in between pitches, and batters is still a major drag on the game.

Check out Mark Buehrle’s starts this year, most of his games are around 2:30, minus some that had a large number of runs scored (none of those even were more than a hair over three hours). And in most of these games he only pitched 5 or 6 innings. That leaves some relievers, and the other team’s pitcher as well. This is all proof that baseball games could be around two hours, and that is really the sweet spot. Under 2:30 is a minimum. This “10 minutes” shorter nonsense has to end. The media needs to stop relaying this garbage message and start pushing for actual pace improvements.