Tyler Kepner in the New York Times zeroes in on the main issue plaguing baseball in his lede:
The fundamental problem facing Major League Baseball and its next commissioner, Rob Manfred, is that attention spans are getting shorter while games are getting longer. Confronting these clashing realities may be Manfred’s top priority when he takes office in January. It will be the first transition at the top of baseball’s hierarchy since Bud Selig replaced Fay Vincent in 1992.
“The job is much more complicated,” said Larry Baer, the chief executive of the San Francisco Giants. “You’re dealing with a 20- or 25-channel world, maybe, in 1992. Now you’re in a 500-channel universe and the Internet. You’re communicating with people that are walking down the street consuming baseball. And that’s a good thing; that’s positive. But we have to figure out ways to make it relevant to that 12-year-old.”
Sunday was a case in point. Here is what I found from reviewing the boxscores of the 16 games (the Reds and Rockies played a doubleheader):
Of the 16 games, 7 lasted in excess of three hours.
Another 5 fell between 2:55 and three hours.
The fastest game was 2:49 for Atlanta’s 4-3 victory over Oakland. The slowest was 3:59 for Colorado’s 10-9 win over Cincinnati.
Oh, you say the Rockies win took so long because of all the runs scored. Well, how do you explain the fact that Kansas City’s 12-6 victory over Minnesota took only 2:51, tying for the second quickest game Sunday? Indeed, it’s not just about the volume of runs.
Imagine the lack of nothing happening in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay, which dragged on for 3:13.
Indeed, the slow pace issue has to be Manfred’s main priority. Thankfully, momentum is building for something to be done.
From Kepner’s story:
That includes improving the pace of play. Thirty years ago, the average time of a game was 2 hours 35 minutes. This season, through last Sunday’s games, it was 3 hours 2 minutes 47 seconds, which would be the longest on record. Players sense the problem.
The Yankees’ Mark Teixeira, when asked what the new commissioner’s top priority should be, said: “From a fan’s perspective, getting kids interested in the game again, watching the game. I just know that kids don’t watch the game like I did, and pace of play doesn’t help that.”
I’ll keep working the stopwatch at Sherman Report.