For those Fenway Faithful who have committed themselves to watching every pitch of the 2010 season thus far, you have endured exactly 1,196 minutes of baseball – 19.9333 hours. Mazel Tov. Long games have certainly become a trend in MLB, a phenomenon that is being discussed across the board. Just last night, Orel Hershiser and Joe Morgan were posturing possible reasons for the seemingly exponential delay of pace this year. But is the trend all that new? When did day games start turning into night games routinely? Could it have been Nomar’s little quirky ticks? Couldn’t be… they were so cute and lovable… unless, of course, you had a little league team of 15 kids all doing it after every pitch. Then, it wasn’t so endearing.
Fire Brand‘s own Tom Fratamico raised some great points in yesterday’s post, available here, about the general speed of the game and what can be done about it. That’s the good news. But there may be even better news. It’s not necessarily as bad as it may seem. As you sit there, slamming your head into the wall, waiting for Carl Pavano to deliver a pitch this afternoon, take solace in the fact that the 2010 season isn’t that far off the mark.
The average running time of the six games this season has been just over 199 minutes (about 3:20). Last season’s first six games clocked in at an average of 182 minutes (about 3:03). However, attentive media consumers will remember grumblings about game length even last year. So let’s go back a little further, shall we? 2004 seems to be known as the “glory days” of modern Red Sox history, so what better place to start.
The 2004 and 2010 seasons are excellent parallels, both having one extra inning game in the first week of play. 2004 got off to almost as dreary a kickoff as 2010, with 1,130 minutes of baseball shown within the first six games of the season. In fact, 2010 has featured only one additional hour of baseball than 2004 over the first six games. That’s only an extra ten minutes per game.
Another lifejacket that might pull you in from the ledge is the fact that the first three games of the season, against the New York Yankees, were on average 38 minutes longer than the games against Kansas City, and the Red Sox won’t take on New York again for almost another month. It’s understandable that lot of MLB announcers get cranky if they’re not in bed by 10:00 at night, but it may be time to give it a rest. Three and a half hours of watching baseball is still three and a half hours of watching baseball; not bad no matter how you slice it.
So Orel, who is to blame? The pitcher, the batter, umpires, the networks? No. As always, the New York Yankees are to blame… for everything.