Baseball is in trouble. Yes, I know, baseball is America’s Pastime and still a wildly popular sport in its own right. But there are some things about baseball that are troubling to fans. One of those things is the length of games, which averages about two hours and fifty-six minutes; twenty minutes longer than an average hockey game and forty minutes longer than an average basketball game – however, shorter than the average football game. Many baseball fanatics, such as myself, look at that last statistic and say, “Fans are more than willing to watch the eleven minutes of play in a football game be stretched into three-and-a-half hours, so why is baseball boring?”
Well, the problem is that the average football fan who only watches their team play watches one game a week, whereas a baseball fan trying to watch every game their team plays will watch at least five and often more. It is much simpler to devote three-and-a-half hours on a Sunday and the odd Thursday or Monday to watch football than to dedicate three or more hours every day to a game of failures like baseball.
Game of failures? What is this guy talking about? Before I lose the die-hard baseball fans, let me explain: in baseball, if you fail seven out of every ten times you step up to the plate, you are considered a great hitter. Fail sixty-six times out of a hundred and you might be making a run at MVP. Baseball has the tendency to feel anticlimactic at times because those guys who are hitting .340, failing sixty-six times out of a hundred, get up and, well, fail. Inning over, let’s head to the seventh. Football players fail in big situations, too, but they do it at full speed and with a resounding CRASH!
So, the age-old (or so it seems, nowadays) question is: how do we either speed up the game, or make it more exciting. The answers to that question have been generally lackluster and ineffectual, no more four-pitch walks, and forcing hitters to keep one foot in the box; though some have proven effective, such as timed pitching changes and not letting managers cause on-field delays while waiting to decide if they’ll have a play reviewed. Further time-related rules pop up every year, pitch clocks and mound visit limits and who knows what else, but none of them seem to have much impact on the real key: making the game more exciting.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention to Out of Left Field with Chris and Graham, and of course you have, you’ve noticed that this question crops up on our show quite a bit, whether we’re discussing rule changes, advocating changes we’d like to see made, or arguing ad nauseam about whether or not extra innings should be limited. We’ll probably never agree on that one, but we never agree. What we really want to know is this: if you were to suddenly be named the Commissioner of Baseball, what would you look at as a way to speed-up and add excitement to games? I’ll give you a few, but we want to hear from you guys, so contact us and tell us your ideas! @OOLeftfield on Twitter, on our Facebook page Out of Left Field with Chris and Graham, you can even email us at OOLeftField@gmail.com. We want to share your responses on the show and we may even choose a few of you to come on and tell us your plan!
Here are a few to get your minds moving:
- Forcing relief pitchers to face a minimum of two hitters if they come in with fewer than two outs.
- Not allowing on-mound warm-up pitches for relievers
- Limiting the number of relievers allowed per game
Alright, now sound off and let us know what your rule change would be, so we can bring it up on the show!