There has been an obnoxiously long debate going on surrounding the pace of play and length of games in Major League Baseball. People have continually blasted the sport for being too “old school”, slow, and literally too long. I have listened to all of these ideas on how to speed up the game, from pitch clocks, to not letting batters step out of the box after pitches, among other. We live in a time of instant gratification, where everyone wants to fly through events, so they can move on to the next super important thing they have lined up on there Instagram or Pinterest list (I don’t really know how Instagram or Pinterest works, so don’t judge me if I got that relation wrong).
I find it very interesting that throughout all of the complaining about how boring baseball is, and how games seem to last forever, that no one seems to care to actually take the time to step back and look at the comparison between all of the major sports and the length of time each of them actually takes. So here it is, the breakdown on how each of the four major sports compare in regards to length of play.
Football: The new “American Past-time” according to some of you. As a baseball “Mega-fan”, this one is my favorite to discuss. You see, an NFL football game is unique, in that not only is it actually longer than your average MLB game, amazingly enough, there is less action in an NFL football game than any other sport. An NFL game averages around 3 hours and 12 minutes of time. From Kickoff to the final whistle, we have roughly 3 hours of coverage of the sport that everyone claims to be the best sport of them all. The fascinating thing about an NFL game however, is there are actually only about 12 minutes of actual action in the entire game! I mean think about it, between whistles, and play clocks winding down, QB’s calling plays at the line, and all that other jazz, you only see a little more than 10 minutes of true action in the entire 3 plus hours that the game is going on. And we want to complain about baseball??!!
Basketball: The good news about basketball is that you see more than 13 minutes of action from the teams on the court. The average NBA game last 2 hours and 30 minutes, with 48 minutes of action in a game. What’s great about this game, is the clock is only going when the players are going. There is no dead time between offense and defense. You simply play until a whistle, pretty cut and dry. Still, when you think about 48 minutes of action, and length of time being 2.5 hours, I don’t think there is much room to complain about the length of a game, and this is one of the shorter events you can attend in sports.
Hockey: Ah the NHL. Hockey is a sport that for whatever reason still hasn’t seemed to take off in the states. I don’t think I know very many “casual” hockey fans, but more you’re either into it, or you’re not. Hockey is a beautiful sport, that has a ton of continuous play with the average length of a game being 2 hours and 20 minutes. Hockey is as elegant as it is violent. The toughest people in sports, gliding across the ice, trying to smash into each other at a rate of speed people don’t really understand. Hockey is the fastest sport there is. It’s as tough as rugby, which is tough, only you risk taking a shot in the head at any moment from a puck that is traveling 100 miles per hour. Hockey, minus commercial interruption, is a continuous game. If you don’t know about it, I’d recommend you learn.
Baseball: Now for the grand finale. The “OG” if you will of American past-times. Baseball gets all this hate the for length of a game, but in truth, the average MLB game lasts around 3 hours. That’s right, you read that correctly. The game that has no clock, the game that is in complete control by the athletes on the field. No clock to worry about, just a beautiful game that gets destroyed because people think that it’s boring. The NFL is a sham. It gives you 11 minutes of action in a 3-hour span. Baseball doesn’t try to fake you out, and make you think you’re getting more than you really are. Baseball gives us the greatest rally’s that we can have in sports. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a team get down to it’s last out, and find a way to get back in a ball game. No clock to worry about, and as fans you’d think that would be something you would want. The ability to have a great competitive game keep going, and not be decided by a buzzer sounding. We talk about OT like it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We always hope for it in those epic games. Baseball is the sport that can give you that on any given night…something that I for one, hope never changes.
A Baseball Fanatic