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How Long is too Long for a Game

Posted By Matthew Carruth On March 25, 2011 @ 2:05 am In Daily Graphings | 78 Comments

In the midst of reformatting and updating my retrosheet database, I got re-interested in the game duration field that Retrosheet tracks. I started digging into comparisons, plotting game duration on one axis and various other variables on the other in order to see if anything struck my fancy. Such posts will come at a later date, but while doing that, another thought struck me: How long of a game does the average person find ideal?

I generally assumed that people overall found baseball games to be too long. But is it actually the duration that’s the problem or is it perhaps more a frustration with too much inaction during that game? I find that too many pitching changes or batters stepping out of the box can grind the pace to a halt and make a two-hour game unendurable while lots of offensive action can make even a three-hour plus game engaging throughout. That is why I support changes to MLB’s rules to cut down on inaction whenever practical- but do others?

Do you have a choice length for a game of baseball to take? Is it dependent on how the game progresses as I described above? Does it even depend on how you are consuming the game? For example, I find myself not minding as much how the game advances when I am passively listening to it on the radio. And even if I am watching it on television, I am less bothered because I have other entertainment options at my fingertips. But if I am at the game in person, slow games drag on and irritate me to no end. Of course, some might adopt the opposite view and want games they attend to take a long time because after all, they’re not paying by the hour for the experience.

We all have other varying and various opinions on how baseball fits as entertainment in our lives. What are yours?


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