Major League Baseball Games in 2023 take about 2.5 hours to complete with the new rules. To put that in perspective, MLB games in 2022 took over three hours to complete. Some of the rules in 2023 that are helping speed up the pace of play include the pitch clock, how many times you can throw to a base, and the number of timeouts the pitcher and hitter have during an at-bat.
So, why are Major League Baseball games taking considerably less time to complete than in 2022? What are the new rules in baseball that are helping speed up play? How long do innings take to complete in baseball on average? What adds to the time it takes to complete a baseball game? What is the longest baseball game on record?
Here is the complete guide as to how long baseball games take to complete.
*2023 MLB Game Length Update*
Major League Baseball games in 2023 take around 2.5 hours to complete on average. The Minnesota Twins recently had a game against the Miami Marlins where the game was under 2 hours.
In 2022, the average MLB game was over three hours of play, which is why new rules were put in place to speed up the game’s action.
What are the New Rules in 2023 that are Speeding up the Play of Baseball Games?
- Pitch Clock: 15 seconds if there are no runners on base. 20 seconds if there is a runner on base. Both of these metrics mean that a pitcher must begin their windup by either 15 or 20 seconds, or it will result in a ball.
- The batter only gets 1 timeout: The batter at the plate can only request a single timeout. After that, they are unable to call timeouts during their at bat.
- Batter Needs to Be in the Box: The batter can’t step out of the batter’s box in between pitches and walk around. If a hitter does that, the umpire will call a strike on that hitter.
- Only 2 Throw Overs to a Base: The pitcher can throw over twice to a base during an at-bat. If they throw over a third time and don’t pick off the runner, that runner automatically moves up one base
Also, not a rule change in 2023, but the pithcom is becoming more popular for pitchers to use in a game. The pitchcom has the pitcher select the pitch they want to throw and communicates that to the catcher. That means there are fewer instances of the catcher and pitcher needing clarification on the sign selection, which helps speed up the pace of play.
Along with the pitchcom not being new to the 2023, so is the ghost runner on second baes in extra innings. The idea behind putting a runner to start the inning at second base is to help speed up the conclusion of extra inning games.
How Long Do Innings Take to Complete in Major League Baseball Games?
MLB innings in 2023 take about 16-17 minutes on average to complete. Since there are nine innings in baseball games and games take 2.5 hours to complete, you divide 150 minutes into 9 innings to get the 16-17 average.
In 2022, MLB innings took about 20 minutes to complete on average. MLB games in 2022 took over three hours on average to complete, which is why they took 3-4 minutes longer per inning then what you see in 2022.
What Adds to the Time to Complete a Baseball Game?
During a regular nine-inning baseball game, a few reasons add to the game’s length to complete all 27 outs. To start, a blowout by one team has no mercy rule, meaning the game has to conclude after 27 outs occur. Since there is no clock or time limit, like in most sports, completing a game is the only way to finish.
Another factor that adds to the time to complete a game is injuries that may occur. For example, if a pitcher has an injury on the mound, another pitcher will replace them via an injury timeout. That replacement pitcher (pitching change) can have as much time as they need to get ready to pitch, which adds to the game’s length.
Finally, any mound visits, batters stepping out of the batter’s box, arguments with the umpires, rain delays, new baserunners, instant replay reviews, and foul balls all add to the game’s length to complete. Also, it is worth noting that games that go into extra innings also add to the time it takes to complete the match.
Do the MLB Playoffs Take Longer to Complete than a Regular Season Game?
While the data is a bit dated, USA Today in 2017 broke down how MLB postseason games took three hours and thirty-one minutes to complete. Since playoff games have more meaning than a regular season games, every decision that occurs means the games take longer. That means pitching changes, new baserunners, mound visits, defensive shifts, and more all added to the time it took to finish a game. Also, another reason why playoff games take longer to complete is the extended commercial breaks between innings.
Comparing the data from USA Today from Statista, playoff games took almost thirty more minutes to complete than a regular season game.
Why Have Major League Baseball Games Taken Longer to Complete than in the Past?
According to Statista.com, the average baseball game in 2022 took three hours and three minutes to complete. In 2000, the average baseball game took two and a half hours to complete, which means the game now takes 22% longer. Not only is that metric up 22%, but the pace of play hasn’t been below three hours since 2015.
One of the reasons the pace of play of baseball has increased is due to sabermetrics. Sabermetrics revolves around putting statistical analysis into every aspect of a baseball game. Today, teams of front office members help assist in game preparation, game time decisions, and more through statical confidence ratings. That means every matchup is now a formula, like where to put the defense, what pitcher should come out of the bullpen, or what pitch to throw to a hitter, adds time to the pace of play.
How Long are College Baseball Games?
Legion Report states that college baseball games take about three hours to complete.
How Long are High School Baseball Games?
Legion Report states that high school baseball games take about two hours to complete. High school baseball games only take about two hours because they only play seven innings of baseball.
What is the Longest Game Ever in Baseball?
The longest professional baseball game occurred in 1984 with the Milwaukee Brewers against the Chicago White Sox. It took eight hours and six minutes to complete the game’s conclusion. The game took twenty-five innings, which the White Sox won on a home run.
What Was the Longest-Played World Series Game in Baseball History?
The longest World Series game came in 2018 between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The baseball game took seven hours and twenty minutes and needed eighteen innings. Previously, the World Series record for completing a game was five hours and forty-one minutes against the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros in 2005.
Conclusion: How Long is an MLB Game / Baseball Game?
In summary, Major League Baseball games in 2023 takes less time to complete than in 2022. Games in 2023 take about 2.5 hours to complete, down from over three hours in 2023. The reason MLB games are taking less time to complete are directly related to the new rules that in place to speed up the action of play.
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