Rand: Long baseball games become a burden

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2014 - 6:53 PM

Ballplayers standing around? Moving slowly? Yep, that’s baseball. In this case, perhaps it was justified. The game was over and the Twins had won Sunday when Glen Perkins, Kurt Suzuki and Trevor Plouffe strolled off.

Photo: Jerry Holt • jerry.holt@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Chris Herrmann drifted in to snag a routine fly ball with two outs in the ninth and the Twins ahead by three on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The ball landed in his glove … then improbably popped out, giving Twins fans temporary pits in their stomachs.

A single followed before Glen Perkins was able to record the final out. No harm done, even if the tying run came to the plate. Except … Herrmann’s gaffe might have cost the Twins in one department: the rare chance to complete a game — and every game in a series — in under three hours. By our watch, it would have ended in 2 hours, 59 minutes with a normal squeeze. Instead, the official game time was 3:02, and it led us down a precarious research path that won’t make fans of fast-paced baseball happy.

The Twins have not played an entire series of three games or longer in under three hours for each game since July 19-21, 2013, when they took two of three from Cleveland. Two of the games clocked in at 2:59 and 2:57, respectively, but that still qualified as the fourth and final series of 2013 to meet the threshold. It has not happened for the Twins in 2014, a year in which pace of play has again become a point of discussion.

Eighteen of the Twins’ 29 games this season have lasted three hours or longer. Before picking it up a bit over the weekend, the Twins’ average game time through 26 games this season was a ridiculous 3 hours, 20 minutes. That included four extra-inning games, but none was longer than 12 innings. The last of those 26 games was a 12-inning affair vs. the Dodgers that lasted 5 hours, 11 minutes — and had reached the four-hour mark by the end of nine innings.

The first two in the Orioles series were relatively brisk — 2:51 on Saturday and the fastest of the year, 2:29, on Friday. Thanks to those games and the still-quick-by-comparison 3:02 Sunday, the Twins’ average game time is now down to 3 hours, 17 minutes.

Go back just a generation, to the 1984 Twins, and you’ll find only 11 games all season that lasted three hours or longer. Almost half the games they played that year were 2:30 or shorter.

Why does it matter? Isn’t part of the charm of baseball the fact that there is no clock — some games might last four hours, a few might be close to half that, and you take what you get?

That used to be a charm. Now it’s just an energy drain. I don’t know if a pitch clock — such as the one college baseball’s SEC started as an experiment in 2010 — is the answer. But I know this: I’m a patient person who loves baseball, and these long games are not sustainable.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 FINAL
Utah 98
LA Clippers 126 FINAL
Portland 122
New Orleans 113 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Anaheim 5
Colorado 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Loyola-Chicago 63 FINAL
ULM 62
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66


question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters