One might be pardoned for thinking that baseball has undergone some sort of recent metamorphosis judging by the recent chatter of how slow the game is. Between innings, one team takes the field and prepares for play, and the other gets set to take its at bats. But the determinant of how much time the changeover takes is television. That time period hasn't changed much, actually, for many decades. Indeed, given that commercials are now sold in shorter time increments than in the past, that television-determined time period could be shortened. No one, however, is talking about such.

One might try to limit each batter to one "groin-touch," but let's face it, there's no data to suggest that there's more of that going on now than, say, in the 1960s. Ditto for the batter tapping his cleats. Batters now step out of the box to reset their batting gloves, so I suppose one might have some effect by restricting the time taken in so doing. And then there's the time the pitchers spend prancing about the mound.

There's been some data suggesting that the latter may have increased a bit during the past couple of decades, so perhaps one might put in a "pitch clock," but I doubt that that will have a whole lot of impact. Let's see what might have increasing playing time during the past couple of decades: the designated hitter. Designed to spur offense (since that's what fans want to see), the DH has done exactly that. But offense means time. More offense = longer games. A 1-0 game generally takes less time to complete than a 5-4 one.

So I ask again: What changes have resulted in longer games, and specifically those long enough to raise concerns about the length of the game?

As for the comment about kids—the issue here isn't what's gone on with kids and baseball so much as baseball players and kids. I can recall when Brooks Robinson made a fueling stop at a gas station where I worked. Everyone took some paper out to him for a signature. He complied with each request, no money, no scowls, just a nice Oriole. I highly doubt that such would happen today. Does that have any impact on the young? Undoubtedly yes, and therein lay the problem for the MLB. I doubt that the loss of interest in baseball among kids has nearly as much to do with how long a given game might be as with the emotional attachment of those kids to ball players.

"One Of The Highest-Paid Players Of All Time Calls Baseball 'Slow,' Says Changes Are Coming"


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