WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — As Major League Baseball continues to tweak the game in an effort to modernize the television viewing experience, one player, Anthony Rendon, couldn’t find the time to watch the All-Star Game because it’s “too long and boring.”
There seemed to be no bitterness from Rendon, who missed the All-Star Game, despite ranking in the top three at his position in nearly every offensive statistical category. Rendon, as he said he would ahead of the mid-summer break, spent his time resting.
The fact of the matter is, for many, including Rendon, the game is too boring. And that stigma isn’t exclusive to the All-Star Game, either. It’s ever game.
“I don’t watch baseball — it’s too long and boring,” is what Rendon actually said to the Washington Post, specifying he’d rather watch the History Channel.
Oddly, as MLB adds elements like instant replay to become more modern, the game has gotten even longer.
After extensive research, the Boston Globe determined the average length of Major League Baseball games in 2014 to be 2 hours, 57 minutes and 53 seconds — which ties the all-time high for the sports set in 2000. As an aside, Red Sox fans endure, on average, 3-hour and 11-minute games.
What can baseball do?
Lot’s of things, actually, but the sport will have to make some sacrifices in the — as Grant Paulsen put it — ‘romanticism’ aspect of the game.
Shortening mound visits would be a good start. But the most dramatic loss in time would come from plate appearances, more specifically, any time a hitter steps out of the box to … tinker.
But there has always been a reluctance from Major League Baseball to change those elements, which it views as strategic.
The batter’s not tinkering, he’s throwing the pitcher off his rhythm. The pitching coach isn’t visiting the mound to ask his pitcher 25 questions, in trying to gauge if he’s good to go another inning, he’s buying time for his reliever to warm up in the bullpen.
There’s one other element which could be eliminated immediately, and it seems to be the elephant in the room. The 7th inning tradition — which began after Sept. 11, 2001 — of singing ‘God Bless America.’
So baseball, as a sport, has reached an impasse.
Make small sacrifices in strategy in an attempt to grow the game by drawing more viewers, or hold on to tradition with a death grip to appease the purists, and place a glass ceiling over the growth of the sport.
As history would have it, retractable glass ceilings are always the way to go.
The only question left, is, would more people actually watch baseball if games were shorter?