You might have noticed the speed of play throughout the Cubs’ opened Day loss to the Pirates.

You are watching: How long do baseball games last on average

It was... Slow. That didn’t assist that there were 365 full pitches thrown, and also 15 go issued by 15 pitchers an unified between the 2 clubs. The game ran four hours — and also it wasn’t even close to the longest nine-inning video game played that day! that dubious “honor” saw the Royals and Rangers, that played a 14-10 slugfest with even an ext walks than occurred at Wrigley (17 in all) in 4 hours, 26 minutes.

Those room outliers also in today’s languidly paced game known together baseball. Over the 2021 season’s an initial four days, there have actually been 44 gamings played that didn’t go to extra innings (I didn’t counting extra-inning games in this analysis, wanting to keep this to gamings of ripe innings only, together that’s comparable to the various other numbers post below.)

The 44 gamings this year averaged three hours, 16 minutes, which is substantially longer than the 3:07 typical for 2020 or the 3:05 because that 2019. (Those number are also for nine-inning games only.) beyond that, of the 44 games, just 14 to be completed in under three hours.

In 2018, the average game length had actually dropped to just over 3 hours, supposedly due to the mound visit limits imposed the season. In 2017, the typical was 3:05, in 2016 it to be 3:00 and also in 2015 it to be 2:57. Here’s a chart showing game length averages before 2015:

*
beyond The Boxscore together you deserve to see, there was a an extremely long period of time, from approximately 1950 through the mid-1980s, when gamings averaged somewhere about two and a half hours. Yet then video game times started creeping up to the allude where three hours practically seems “fast.”

Back in 2017, SB Nation’s provide Brisbee composed this short article comparing comparable games (scores, hits, etc.) native 1984 and also 2014 and concluded:

Time in between pitches is the major villain. I tallied up every the pitches in both games that we’ll call inaction pitches — pitches that brought about a ball, dubbed strike, or swinging strike, however didn’t result in the end of an at-bat or the breakthrough of a runner. These are the pitches whereby the catcher captured the ball and threw it ago to the pitcher, whose next step was to throw it back to the catcher. Foul balls didn’t count. The fourth ball of a key appearance didn’t count. Stolen bases no count. Wild pitches no count. Just the pitches where call wasn’t made, and the pitcher received a return litter from the catcher.

There were 146 inaction pitches in the 1984 game.

There to be 144 of these pitches in the 2014 game.

The total time because that the inaction pitches in 1984 — the elapsed time in between a pitcher releasing one pitch and his relax of the following pitch — was 32 minutes and also 47 seconds.

The total time for inaction pitches in 2014 to be 57 minutes and 41 seconds.

That’s it. It’s the time players spend standing around, adjusting batting gloves, acquiring signs, acquisition deep breaths before pitches (yes, you have seen this, and if friend haven’t, watch the next game you see closely), basically not playing baseball. (Incidentally, Grant’s post is well worth her time if you haven’t previously read it.)

Rob Manfred’s transforms that are an alleged to boost pace of pat — the automatic intentional walk, boundaries on mound visits, the three-batter minimum — literally reduced seconds turn off the size of games. This is an article by Cliff Corcoran in ~ The Athletic mirroring the math on what the three-batter minimum would have done in 2019:

Over the course of the 2,429 major-league games played in 2019, those 691 pitching appearances work out to simply one every 3 1/2 games. If, in every case, the brand-new rule eliminated the mid-inning pitching change entirely, that would have actually made the median time of a major-league video game in 2019 (drumroll, please) … 34 secs shorter.

Thirty. Four. Seconds.

After rounding, the dominion would have lessened the average time of video game from a document of 3:10 to a document of 3:09.

Thanks, Manfred, for giving us 34 secs back.

The single thing that would certainly truly enhance pace of play and also shorten gamings is the key clock. Period, finish of story. As soon as the key clock was instituted in Double-A and also Triple-A in 2015, video game lengths lessened anywhere native 11 to 15 minutes, per this new York time article.

Granted that the 44 nine-inning gamings played so much in 2021 is a tiny sample size, however the means the 3 Cubs gamings so much have unable to do (average video game time 3:26, and the Cubs no bat in the ninth in 2 of the three), no to mention the 13 MLB games that have gone 3:30 or longer, doesn’t bode well for Manfred’s present pace-of-play initiatives.

Manfred might have unilaterally imposed the pitch clock at any time over the last few seasons however chose not to carry out so. Numerous pitchers who have come up through the young leagues end the last five years must be supplied to the clock by now, and I hope it’s among the things agreed come in the brand-new CBA that will certainly (hopefully) be perfect after this season.

In the meantime, get ready for much longer baseball games in 2021. And also for those that you who say, “Hey, it’s much more baseball!”, the isn’t correct. It’s the exact same amount that baseball — ripe innings — only it takes much longer than it should.

See more: Myth Busters! How Many Bottles In A Box Of Wine, Why Boxed Wine

Let’s gain that key clock instituted and get the mean nine-inning video game length ago to about 2:45 or so.