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Volume 26 No. 181
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MLB's Average Game Time Reaches Record Length In '19

The average time of a 9-inning game "reached a record length" in MLB this season, according to the AP. MLB yesterday said that the "final figure" for '19 was 3:05:35, which topped the 3:05:11 mark set in '17. The average had "dropped to 3:00:44" in '18, "helped by new restrictions that cut mound visits without pitching changes" (AP, 9/29). MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said of the pace of games, "I don't know that the automated strike zone will be a huge driver in terms of pace of the game, but it's another example of using technology that our fans want, and the use of technology itself is a source of interest in the game." Manfred added, "We've been perceived as a leader in the technology space among the sports leagues, and we want to continue that perception" ("Mornings with Maria," Fox Business, 9/30).

THE LONG BALL: The AP's Ronald Blum notes MLB "finished with 6,776 home runs, shattering the previous record of 6,105 set two years ago." This year’s total was 11% "above the old record and 21% higher than last year’s 5,585." The Twins hit three home runs yesterday to "establish the big league team record with 307, one more than the Yankees" this season. The previous mark of 267 was set last year by the Yankees. MLB has "asked for more scientific tests on baseballs" amid public discussions that balls may be juiced (AP, 9/30). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner notes there were 15 teams that either "set or tied their single-season record for home runs" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/30).

BALANCING ACT: In Boston, Sean McAdam wrote those who "don't think there's a competitive balance issue in the game" are perhaps "not paying close attention." McAdam: "Like never before, the really good teams are taking full advantage of the several very bad teams to fatten up their record." But one thing is "for certain." MLB "must find a way to disincentive losing." Maybe the solution is to "penalize teams by setting a minimum number of wins -- 65 shouldn’t be too tough to reach -- and if teams fall short, they pay for it by dropping a prescribed number of slots" in the draft. Allowing teams to "bottom out for extended periods weakens the game and cheapens the fan experience for all involved" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 9/28).