MLB Playoff start times and its declining viewership

Boggs26

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Make the goddamn games go quicker, simple as that. The pitch clock is long overdue, as are changes to eradicate the takeover of the game by relievers. No one pays a ticket to see LOOGYs shuffled in and out. MLB needs to realize the product is people playing baseball, not them not playing baseball. I’d say that goes for people striking out too, 380-400 pitch 9 inning games with 5-6 runs scored is not optimal.

There’s been four World Series games this decade played in under 3 hours. In the 70s and 80s, that was routine. Even in the early 2000s, most World Series games were played in around 3 hours, maybe 3:10. You do that and the East Coast can watch, and people aren’t bored.
How long were the between inning commercial breaks in the 70s and 80s? This year's playoff games have nearly an hour of commercials just between innings, certainly over an hour when pitching changes come into play. It seems like everyone wants to get the game down to the times of 20-30 years ago, but constantly ignore that there are currently 2 to 3x the commercial time. Just cutting the between inning commercials from 3 minutes to 1 and a half minutes would save almost 30 minutes a game. That would mean the longest ALCS game would have been the only one to break 4 hours and game 5 would have been just about 3hrs on the nose. Add in that 30 years ago they didn't cut to commercial for a pitching change and you would likely have had 2 under 3 hour ALCS games this year, two around 3:15 or 3:20 and only one game over 3:30. Yes the game is a bit slower and a pitch clock would help that, but the #1 culprit is unquestionably commercial breaks.
 

tims4wins

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How long were the between inning commercial breaks in the 70s and 80s? This year's playoff games have nearly an hour of commercials just between innings, certainly over an hour when pitching changes come into play. It seems like everyone wants to get the game down to the times of 20-30 years ago, but constantly ignore that there are currently 2 to 3x the commercial time. Just cutting the between inning commercials from 3 minutes to 1 and a half minutes would save almost 30 minutes a game. That would mean the longest ALCS game would have been the only one to break 4 hours and game 5 would have been just about 3hrs on the nose. Add in that 30 years ago they didn't cut to commercial for a pitching change and you would likely have had 2 under 3 hour ALCS games this year, two around 3:15 or 3:20 and only one game over 3:30. Yes the game is a bit slower and a pitch clock would help that, but the #1 culprit is unquestionably commercial breaks.
I am not sure how many times I have linked this article on SoSH, this is probably at least the third time I have done so, but take a look at this.

https://www.sbnation.com/a/mlb-2017-season-preview/game-length

TL; DR: pace of play is the culprit

Now admittedly the article is about a pair of regular season games, but I would imagine similar trends hold true in playoff games

Edit: just for reference, game 6 of the 1975 ALCS was 4:01. That game went 12 innings. I would venture to guess it wasn't just commercials that made it shorter.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Pace of play is the #1 culprit for sure, but the commercials are frustrating since it's something they could very easily fix without affecting the game itself (like rule changes such as a pitch clock) and knock a half hour off game times.
 

tims4wins

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Pace of play is the #1 culprit for sure, but the commercials are frustrating since it's something they could very easily fix without affecting the game itself (like rule changes such as a pitch clock) and knock a half hour off game times.
I don't necessarily disagree, but while it is frustrating, there is no way it happens. Whereas MLB could take action on pace of play.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Pace of play is the #1 culprit for sure, but the commercials are frustrating since it's something they could very easily fix without affecting the game itself (like rule changes such as a pitch clock) and knock a half hour off game times.
From that SB article - the commercials are replacing inactivity on the field. It's not as if the teams would get back to playing more quickly if they cut down the commercial time between innings. After all, you have to give ample time for the C to put on his equipment and the pitcher to warm up.
 

charlieoscar

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The TV “time outs” between half innings eat up a huge chunk of time. MLB should make the TV broadcasters do what soccer broadcasters do all over the world, go to some kind of in-game advertising. There could still be between-inning ads, just not as long.
NESN has already some some during-inning ads...running along bottom of screen or voice by an announcer.
 

Max Power

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From that SB article - the commercials are replacing inactivity on the field. It's not as if the teams would get back to playing more quickly if they cut down the commercial time between innings. After all, you have to give ample time for the C to put on his equipment and the pitcher to warm up.
There's a between innings countdown clock at Fenway. It's 2:30 during the regular season and 3 minutes during the postseason. They've added 9 minutes of commercials per game.
 

brs3

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There's a between innings countdown clock at Fenway. It's 2:30 during the regular season and 3 minutes during the postseason. They've added 9 minutes of commercials per game.
There's an extra minute(50 seconds, but lets round up) in commercial breaks during the postseason, according to the WashPo. Between innings and pitching changes, it's an additional 20-30 minutes(averaging prob closer to 22-23). Advertisers pay something like $500,000 per 30 second ad during the World Series, so there's zero chance FOX/MLB would sacrifice the 40-60+ million dollars per game. Remove 20-30 minutes from any postseason total time, and they look much more reasonable. Sure, pace of play might be a factor, but the longer games also have a very clear reason that will not change. Look at the how long Game 5 of the ALCS was. 3:32. Remove the extra minute from every commercial break and the game is just over 3 hours. It's a fun game. Start w/ 18 minutes, add a minute for every mid-inning pitcher change. It's not a perfect science, but it's easy to point to where the game is extending in one way.
 

nvalvo

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Not an issue anymore and I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but staggering the times for the AL and NL games seems kind of dumb to me. Even ratings-wise.

I’d think the upside — the number of hard-core baseball fans who watch both games — is much smaller than the downside — the number of viewers lost because the day game starts at 4pm and the night game goes past midnight.

But that’s assuming the goal is to maximize total viewership (which should be the MLB’s goal.) It isn’t. Instead it’s for each network to maximize the viewership of its games. So although starting both the AL and NL games at the same time, in primetime, might increase total viewership, and total ad revenue, the network with the less popular series or showing a blowout game on any given night would lose out.

It’d be relatively easy for the MLB to fix, though, to make the TV times more fan-friendly and still maximize viewership and ad revenue for the networks. They’d have to care more about the fans and future fans, though, and not simply the number written on the TV license checks.
I completely agree: part of the fun during the regular season is the simultaneity of the games. It would be fun in the postseason, too.
 

nvalvo

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There's an extra minute(50 seconds, but lets round up) in commercial breaks during the postseason, according to the WashPo. Between innings and pitching changes, it's an additional 20-30 minutes(averaging prob closer to 22-23). Advertisers pay something like $500,000 per 30 second ad during the World Series, so there's zero chance FOX/MLB would sacrifice the 40-60+ million dollars per game. Remove 20-30 minutes from any postseason total time, and they look much more reasonable. Sure, pace of play might be a factor, but the longer games also have a very clear reason that will not change. Look at the how long Game 5 of the ALCS was. 3:32. Remove the extra minute from every commercial break and the game is just over 3 hours. It's a fun game. Start w/ 18 minutes, add a minute for every mid-inning pitcher change. It's not a perfect science, but it's easy to point to where the game is extending in one way.
In these discussions, it always seems to me that the advertising value of the eyeballs should be basically fixed. Why not stick with 2 minute breaks and charge $750,000 for the (scarcer, hence more valuable) spots?

I bet you'd get more actual eyeballs on the ads with the shorter breaks, too. Less of an impulse to get up, use the gents, get another beer...

What am I missing?
 

Mugsy's Jock

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In these discussions, it always seems to me that the advertising value of the eyeballs should be basically fixed. Why not stick with 2 minute breaks and charge $750,000 for the (scarcer, hence more valuable) spots?

I bet you'd get more actual eyeballs on the ads with the shorter breaks, too. Less of an impulse to get up, use the gents, get another beer...

What am I missing?
Removing a 30-second spot from a 2:30 pod won’t raise the remaining four commercials’ ratings by +25% (or close to it), and advertisers pay based on eyeballs, not scarcity. Unfortunately, the math always favors cramming more commercials in.

At some point, of course, if you ran all commercials and no content there would be no ratings...but on an incremental basis the math always favors adding spots.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Removing a 30-second spot from a 2:30 pod won’t raise the remaining four commercials’ ratings by +25% (or close to it), and advertisers pay based on eyeballs, not scarcity. Unfortunately, the math always favors cramming more commercials in.

At some point, of course, if you ran all commercials and no content there would be no ratings...but on an incremental basis the math always favors adding spots.
Hard to quantify but people may be less likely to tune out or use dvr to skip if the commercial breaks were shorter.
 

charlieoscar

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There's an extra minute(50 seconds, but lets round up) in commercial breaks during the postseason, according to the WashPo.
Actually, those aren't the times I see in that article. That source says:

WASHINGTON POST, Feb 19, 2018
-----
In addition, commercial breaks between innings and during pitching changes will be reduced to 2 minutes 5 seconds for most regular-season games, 2:25 for nationally televised regular season games and 2:55 for postseason games.

And CBSSPORTS says something similar but not including "most" on the same date:
-----
Yes, MLB agreed to shorten commercial breaks during the regular season. Can't say I saw that coming. Here are the new between inning commercial break times:

Regular season games: 2:05 (previously 2:25)
Nationally televised games: 2:25 (previously (2:45)
Postseason games: 2:55

As part of the shortened commercial breaks, pitchers can throw as many warm-up pitches as they want before the timer runs out, though they are no longer guaranteed eight warm-up pitches. Here are the actions required within the time limits:

25 seconds remaining: Umpires directs pitcher to complete final warm-up pitch.
20 seconds remaining: Batter is announced and must leave on-deck circle.
0 seconds remaining: Pitcher must begin to deliver a pitch to the batter.

The umpire can award the pitcher additional warm-up pitches under special circumstances, such as potential injury, the grounds crew tending to the field, or other on-field delays.
 

YTF

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Pace of play is the #1 culprit for sure, but the commercials are frustrating since it's something they could very easily fix without affecting the game itself (like rule changes such as a pitch clock) and knock a half hour off game times.
Pace of play may be the #1 culprit for length of game, but IMO there is no reason the games can't start at 7 or 7:30 eastern time. Yes I get that this is 4 or 4:30 on the west coast, but I'm dumbfounded as to why MLB prefers the entire country gets to see the beginning of the game rather than the end of the game. This was an issue for Monday Night Football for many years and they finally bumped up the start time and that's just for regular season games. This is MLB's moment to shine and they seem to really not give a shit as to whether or not fans get to see the late inning, high leverage, game on the line situations and fantastic finishes that would seem to keep fans engaged and talking about what they saw the day before. Every year there is the discussion as to how to lure young fans and to keep others interested. I get the whole pace of play issue, but MLB is severely limiting their audience not only with these late start times, but also with the networks that they are using to broadcast the games. I find Chris Russo to be mostly obnoxious and not all that good at what he does, but he's spot on here.
 

Ale Xander

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OT, but I don't get why the NCAA BB NCG is at 9. Is it because it's only a 2 hour game?
 

soxhop411

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Putting this here as well since its a more relevant thread.

WS ratings so far have not been good, despite the thinking that a LAD/BOS WS would pull excellent ratings.


According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday’s Game 1, played at 8 p.m. ET local time at Fenway Park, came in at an 8.2 rating and 13.76 million viewers. That’s a 6 percent drop in ratings and an 8 percent drop in viewers from 2017’s Game 1 between the Houston Astros and the Dodgers.

Comparing 2018’s numbers to the ratings behemoth that was 2016, it’s even worse. This year’s Series is down 27 percent in ratings and 29 percent in viewers from Game 1 between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians in 2016.

Game 1 ratings haven’t been that low since 2014 when the San Francisco Giants faced the Kansas City Royals. In fact, they’re the fourth-lowest Game 1 ratings on record.

Game 2 didn’t fare better, scoring a 9.9 overnight rating, a three-year low. (Viewership numbers aren’t yet available for Game 2.) That’s a 10 percent decline from Game 2 for the Astros and Dodgers in 2017, which drew an 11.0 rating. But unlike Game 1, the disparity between 2018 and 2016 isn’t as big. Cubs-Indians in 2016 pulled an 11.2 rating, which is just a 12 percent drop.
https://sports.yahoo.com/ratings-red-sox-dodgers-world-series-fall-four-year-low-202615341.html

And here is the WS ratings trend over the past few seasons..


http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2018/10/world-series-ratings-game-one-decline/

When all the older fans die off, baseball is going to have a major issue on its hands, which is probably why they are so desperate to speed up the game

baseball also can't use the streaming excuse as Sportsmedia watch includes those in the ratings...
 

charlieoscar

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When all the older fans die off, baseball is going to have a major issue on its hands, which is probably why they are so desperate to speed up the game
Unfortunately, the people running MLB cannot come up with real ways to improve the pace of play. One thing that needs to be done is getting the umpires to enforce rules already in existence like stop granting all those timeouts you see in most every plate appearance...things like batters stepping back after every pitch to fiddle with their batting glove; pitchers not throwing the ball because they want to disrupt the batter; batters stepping out because the pitcher isn't throwing; players having to remove their body armor when they get on base or put on sliding gloves, and the like.

But even with all that it is still difficult to cut time.Consider that the average number of plate appearances is about 76. Cutting 10 seconds from each PA would only reduce the average game time by 12 minutes and 40 seconds. They also need to reduce the number of pitches thrown and they need to get players committed to speeding themselves up. How much time is wasted by players do silly little dances when changing sides; pimping home runs; squabbling/sulking with umpire's ball/strike calls.

Pitch information for games is only available back to the late 1980s so we can't do a comparison between today's games and similar games from earlier periods. The strength of the players' union and even the umpires' union I suspect complicate things, too.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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But even with all that it is still difficult to cut time.Consider that the average number of plate appearances is about 76. Cutting 10 seconds from each PA would only reduce the average game time by 12 minutes and 40 seconds. They also need to reduce the number of pitches thrown and they need to get players committed to speeding themselves up. How much time is wasted by players do silly little dances when changing sides; pimping home runs; squabbling/sulking with umpire's ball/strike calls..
Why pick 10 seconds? That’s only 2 seconds per pitch on a five pitch AB. If they can’t step out between pitches or younpit in a pitch clock you will save much more than two seconds per pitch.

And you can legislate those things. You can make the umps enforce the rules. You just have to WANT to.

And four seconds per pitch saves 25 minutes. That’s real.
 

Cesar Crespo

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When all the older fans die off, baseball is going to have a major issue on its hands, which is probably why they are so desperate to speed up the game
.
You can say this about pretty much every sport right now except tennis, basketball and soccer. Kids are playing sports less and less every year.
 

Noseminer

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I can't help but wonder how much the dominance the Red Sox have shown this year, and so far in the playoffs, is affecting these ratings.
 

dhappy42

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Unfortunately, the people running MLB cannot come up with real ways to improve the pace of play. One thing that needs to be done is getting the umpires to enforce rules already in existence like stop granting all those timeouts you see in most every plate appearance...things like batters stepping back after every pitch to fiddle with their batting glove; pitchers not throwing the ball because they want to disrupt the batter; batters stepping out because the pitcher isn't throwing; players having to remove their body armor when they get on base or put on sliding gloves, and the like.

But even with all that it is still difficult to cut time.Consider that the average number of plate appearances is about 76. Cutting 10 seconds from each PA would only reduce the average game time by 12 minutes and 40 seconds. They also need to reduce the number of pitches thrown and they need to get players committed to speeding themselves up. How much time is wasted by players do silly little dances when changing sides; pimping home runs; squabbling/sulking with umpire's ball/strike calls.

Pitch information for games is only available back to the late 1980s so we can't do a comparison between today's games and similar games from earlier periods. The strength of the players' union and even the umpires' union I suspect complicate things, too.
The way some high school umps I know speed up the game is to not allow batters to step out of the box except for unusual circumstances. (They’ll typically issue one warning and call an automatic strike if it’s not heeded.) And they’ll never grant a batter time if the pitcher has already started his windup or motion.

But more importantly, they call big strike zones and announce that beforehand. They want batters swinging. The MLB could increase the size of the strike zone upwards and/or instruct umpires to call inside and outside “paint” strikes more liberally. Some do that already.

The problem is that this would tilt the pitcher-batter duel advantage to pitchers and MLB and fans want more offense, as well as faster pace-of-play. My solution (which no one likes) is to move the pitching rubber back two feet — to 63’ 7” — the midpoint of the distance between home and second base.
 

charlieoscar

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Why pick 10 seconds?
I simply picked a number that allowed easy extrapolation. There are limits to how much time can be cut per pitch.

You can make the umps enforce the rules.
Spring 1979, the umpires went on strike and spring training games were officiated by retired and amateur umpires. May 15, MLB ceded: Ump Integrity in Danger (Pittsburg Post-Gazette, p14) as a majority of the substitute were hired and paid for by the home team. In 1999 the umpires once again wanted to strike but their collective bargaining agreement was still in effect, so to force the issue a large number of umpires resigned with the result that a new union replaced the MLUA. Twenty-two MLB umpires lost their jobs.

I don't know what the new agreement entails but umpires have shown that they will stand up to MLB. Is MLB willing to push them?
 

charlieoscar

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My solution (which no one likes) is to move the pitching rubber back two feet — to 63’ 7” — the midpoint of the distance between home and second base.
More walks, I would think and more offense as pitches will be traveling slower when they reach home plate and also the rotation of the ball will diminish somewhat. If more batters reach base, will time be cut?
 

grimshaw

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As mentioned, all limiting replay will do in a playoff game is increase arguments which is going to negate a good chunk of that time devoted to getting it right. If you want to revisit scaling it back, do it during the regular season.

If they have to increase those lame in game commercials when people are actually watching to cut down the amount of time between innings then so be it. We already expect hokey Fox coverage anyhow.
 
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Marbleheader

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I was 29 in 2004 and I stayed up for every pitch. 14 years later, it's a lot harder for me to do so. Overall, I think Nielsen ratings are garbage and a relic of the past. I did a lot of DVR and pick up where I left off the night before. I do wonder where the average age of the baseball fan is getting older how much that is factoring in to people not tuning in to something that's going to end past midnight and require 4+ hours of your time.
 

dhappy42

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As mentioned, all limiting replay will do in a playoff game is increase arguments which is going to negate a good chunk of that time devoted to getting it right. If you want to revisit scaling it back, do it during the regular season.

If they have to increase those lame in game commercials when people are actually watching to cut down the amount of time between innings then so be it. We already expect hokey Fox coverage anyhow.
I’d be fine with the in-game commercials if they replaced one or two of the between-inning commercials, which add at least 15 minutes to the length of a game. (The in-game commercials should be more valuable because people have to see them, whereas a lot of folks leave the room or otherwise tune out between innings.) But I expect the greedheads at the TV networks will just add more ads, not use the in-game ads to reduce between-inning delays.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The problem is that this would tilt the pitcher-batter duel advantage to pitchers and MLB and fans want more offense, as well as faster pace-of-play. My solution (which no one likes) is to move the pitching rubber back two feet — to 63’ 7” — the midpoint of the distance between home and second base.
It's not necessarily that people want more offense, they want more action. The problems with strikeouts and HRs is that it decreases the actual action - movement of bodies - in the game.

Start each count at 1-1 and you'll get more action.
 

WenZink

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Is anyone else old enough to remember the 1960s, when all World Series games were played in the daytime? Except for weekend games (and an occasional Columbus Day game), most games started while I was still in school. I still remember sneaking a transistor radio in my pocket (complete with earphone running up my shirt) into class and listening to the first 5 innings of game 7 of the 1964 series and then racing home to catch the ending, so I could tell my father how it went when he got home from work. SPOILER ALERT: the yankees lost.
 
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Ale Xander

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I was 29 in 2004 and I stayed up for every pitch. 14 years later, it's a lot harder for me to do so. Overall, I think Nielsen ratings are garbage and a relic of the past. I did a lot of DVR and pick up where I left off the night before. I do wonder where the average age of the baseball fan is getting older how much that is factoring in to people not tuning in to something that's going to end past midnight and require 4+ hours of your time.
The smart thing to do seems to be to DVR it and start an hour in, and FF at your own pace and you'll catch up around the 8th.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The smart thing to do seems to be to DVR it and start an hour in, and FF at your own pace and you'll catch up around the 8th.
That doesn't really solve the late finishing time problem, which for a lot of folks is the biggest hurdle to overcome. I really don't mind the 3-4 hour games so much when they start at 5 and are over by 9 (like ALCS Game 3). The 8:10 starts with a midnight or later finish really fucks with my next day functionality.
 

Seels

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I don't know why home games can't be home games in every sense of it. If Boston is home just allow the games to start at a Boston friendly time. If LA is home, do the same for them.
Baseball games need to not start at 830 for the home team ever.
 

Max Power

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I don't know why home games can't be home games in every sense of it. If Boston is home just allow the games to start at a Boston friendly time. If LA is home, do the same for them.
Baseball games need to not start at 830 for the home team ever.
I am very much against World Series games the Red Sox are playing starting at 10pm.
 

moondog80

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Take away the spikes from the Yankees and Cubs and that chart looks like more or less stable, with some variation due to market size and a modest decline overall, which is to be expected.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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I don't know why home games can't be home games in every sense of it. If Boston is home just allow the games to start at a Boston friendly time. If LA is home, do the same for them.
Baseball games need to not start at 830 for the home team ever.
You REALLY don’t know? Really?

Buy the broadcast rights when the current contract expires, and start the games when it’s convenient for the home team fans. Then try to sell that set of eyeballs to national advertisers. At the end of the exercise, count the amount of money you lost.
 

Marbleheader

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I just don't get how the biggest sporting event in the country starts at 6:30pm ET but we can't have baseball games, which are longer, start until 2 hours later. It would have been nice to watch Game 5 with your kids and still have them functional for school the next day.
 

Wake49

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Same here, my son is also in 4th grade. And despite being excited about it, he's watched no more than a few innings of night games. If the game started at 7:00, I could justify letting him stay up to watch. But post-8:00? Can't do it because there's no chance the game will end anywhere near a justifiable time.

Also, the last few days I've gone into work and nobody else watched the whole game, or even very much of it. Granted, they aren't die hards. But they are interested in the Sox and like talking about them, but they aren't going to walk around feeling like shit all day to make it happen.
My boys and I watched a sizable chunk of the playoffs together, but we also have the benefit of living in the Mountain Time zone. I couldn’t imagine letting my youngest stay up late enough to see the end of any of those games.
 

phenweigh

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Only way imo to fix it is to limit number of pitching changes and eliminate mound visits entirely.
It's not pitching changes, it's in-inning pitching changes. Limit that to once for the starter and one more. If you remove the starter between innings, you only get one. If you want/need to exceed that, the penalty is the next hitter and every base runner moves up one base.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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That will save 3 minutes each time. So maybe 9 or 12 minutes over a game? And really change strategy. Is that worth it to save 9 to 12 minutes when enforcing a pitch clock does a better job without changing strategy?
 

jon abbey

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The answer pretty clearly is figuring out an electronic way for the catcher and pitcher to communicate pitch selection. I have to think that on its own would cut games down by maybe 30 minutes while not affecting the sport at all except eliminating sign-stealing which is no loss IMO.
 

In my lifetime

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I suggested the same in another thread a few days ago. It would be easy to implement. Bench calls pitches, P/C/SS/2B have ear pieces. P can simply shake off if he likes and bench would call a different pitch. Microphone turns off at start of wind-up. To eliminate unwanted extraneous chatter, system could be set up with automated input. So the only choices heard would be pitch type and location. Example Fastball high away or as a number system: 1 then A as you could split the plate in 9 sections
A. B. C.
D. E. F.
G. H. I.
And you could increase the sections if teams wanted to include off the plate areas. It seems to me this would result in very few shake offs and speed up the game tremendously.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I just don't get how the biggest sporting event in the country starts at 6:30pm ET but we can't have baseball games, which are longer, start until 2 hours later. It would have been nice to watch Game 5 with your kids and still have them functional for school the next day.
NFL has the stage to themselves on Super Bowl Sunday. No MLB (obviously), NBA typically plays early that day, and no one gives a shit about the NHL (though I believe they too schedule around the Bowl). It's also a one and done thing, firmly scheduled months in advance. Easy to focus all attention on it and make it an event.

Game 5 is number 5 of potentially 7 games. Sure they could give it some special treatment and go head-to-head with more than one NFL game (the 4:30 Eastern games instead of the one at 8:30pm), but if the Dodgers win, the series moves on to Tuesday night and the dilemma starts over. Only it's people at work instead of NFL games to worry about.

I'm all for earlier start times for these games, but comparison to the Super Bowl really doesn't work.
 

canderson

Mr. Brightside
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
28,696
Harrisburg, Pa.
The answer pretty clearly is figuring out an electronic way for the catcher and pitcher to communicate pitch selection. I have to think that on its own would cut games down by maybe 30 minutes while not affecting the sport at all except eliminating sign-stealing which is no loss IMO.
It won't eliminate all sign stealing since the catcher still gets many calls from the dugout. So that aspect remains.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
43,954
It won't eliminate all sign stealing since the catcher still gets many calls from the dugout. So that aspect remains.
I don't think that's as prevalent at the big league level out side of calling things like pitchouts.

This is a few years old, but here's Mike Matheny talking about it: https://www.mikematheny.com/mikes-blog/calling-pitches

I had one year in college, as a freshman, where my college coach called every pitch from the bench. I felt worthless behind the plate
I never once had Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa call a pitch for me, nor have I ever called one for Yadi...and I never will. We do, however, talk about pitch selection every single day, and we are always learning and challenging ourselves to be better at it. Help your kids, no matter how young or old, do the same.
 

Zososoxfan

Member
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Jul 30, 2009
6,544
South of North
Since everyone else seems to be chiming in, here is my Rx:

1. Most important by far--do not go to commercial break between the top and bottom half of the inning. Limit this changeover time as much as possible.
2. Use in-game advertising in an unobtrusive way as much as possible. This really isn't hard and MLB did a decent job of it in the playoffs. Long foul ball? Throw in a 5-second ad. The biggest question in connection with is pitching changes, but I would prefer a shorter transition period and in-game advertising as opposed to going to commercial break.
3. No mound visits for any reason by the catcher, any position players, or the pitching coach. The pitcher is on his own once he's on the mound.
4. No stepping out of the box. Once you go in for an AB, you are there till you are on base, cross the plate on a HR, or are out.

To reiterate what others have said, the game itself doesn't need much fixing. The biggest problem is advertising. In order to make those adverts more valuable, MLB needs to make them more scarce. That being said, I would not miss mound visits and batters stepping out of the box. I'd try these changes before doing anything more drastic like moving the rubber back, expanding the strike zone, or starting the count at 1-1.
 

BigJimEd

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2002
3,215
1. You want different warm up times for home and away team? I have no issue with breaks between half inning except all breaks could be shorter.

2. I don't mind in-game commercials but the commercials between pitches was extremely annoying. Takes away from game when you have a commercial before a 3-2 pitch late in a close game. Keep them between batters.

3. Just limit mound visits which they do already. But maybe only one per inning as well. I don't think they need to get rid of then all together.

4. Use a pitch clock. This is the biggest time saver and increases pace. Batter wants to step out? Fine but pitcher doesn't have to wait.
 
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Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
14,928
I think a pitch clock and a robot ump behind the plate would speed up the game immensely. I think a robot ump would help encourage fast play since there's less complaining. Also giving the pitcher, catcher and the dugout a way to communicate with each other would as well. It would eliminate the catchers using note cards and the need for mount visits.

I watched 2 of the WS games with my Dad who hasn't watched baseball in forever and his 3 biggest gripes were how long a pitcher takes between each pitch, that starters get pulled after 90-100 pitches, and all the "timeouts" the hitters and pitchers call. A pitch clock eliminates 2 of those. The 3rd one isn't changing anytime soon.


edit: I don't mind in game commercials as long as they aren't just extra commercials. If having in game commercials meant staying in the ballpark, sure. That's not what it was though.
 

sackamano

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 1, 2004
677
on the river
Yeah, I watched with my auntie who hadn't watched baseball in forever. She complained about the lack of stirrup socks and that all the players needed a glove.
 

HriniakPosterChild

Member
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Jul 6, 2006
14,782
500 feet above Lake Sammammish
The answer pretty clearly is figuring out an electronic way for the catcher and pitcher to communicate pitch selection. I have to think that on its own would cut games down by maybe 30 minutes while not affecting the sport at all except eliminating sign-stealing which is no loss IMO.
Middle infielders like to see the signs, too. They will shade a step one way or the other depending on the pitch. Should they get electronics, too?