Courtside Commentary

Story by Jack Meltsner, Sports Editor

In today’s era of instant gratification, everything happens fast and consumers expect immediate feedback. When you buy something online and pay for shipping, an option for next day delivery appears. This trend has leaked into American athletics and victimized baseball, which has the longest game time of any American sporting event, by pressuring Major League Baseball to shorten the average game time.

Commissioner Rob Manfred initially combatted worldwide baseball fans’ growing disinterest in longer baseball games by experimented with the use of minor league pitch clocks in 2015 before potentially taking it to the bigs as a new pace-of-play regulation to speed up the game. From 1998 to 2018, the average time of a baseball game has increased from two hours and 49 minutes to three hours and four minutes. This is a problem because fans just don’t appreciate the routine actions of the game anymore, making them lose interest about half way through.

The stereotypical 21st century baseball fan has lost the ability to admire the little things that set a baseball game apart from other sporting events. The perfect execution of a breaking ball on the outside corner for a called strike was once a part of the beauty of baseball. However, fans nowadays view this as boring and lackluster. The humble skill and intense focus that pitchers were once associated with has since fizzled out of fans’ minds while the homerun has encapsulated fans along with the idea of “chicks dig the long ball” in a new era of hitter-friendly baseball supported by fans who have become obsessed with the homerun.

To me, the thing that makes baseball special is the length of the game. It gives teams plenty of opportunities to get back into the game no matter the inning or the score. Because there is no clock, a team is never fully out of the game and always has a chance of winning. On any given day, any team can win no matter the big names or lopsided payroll between the teams.

Manfred, however, believes that speeding up the game is a necessity as the game has begun to fall victim to baseball’s modern impatient fan. This is absolutely absurd because baseball has flourished over the past century with patient fans who understood the game and its meticulous bliss. If fans can’t sit tight for a three hour game, then they can go ahead and watch another sport. There are plenty of baseball fans who will watch a longer game and appreciate it for its full value. After all, the fans who prefer a shorter game don’t even fully understand the game to begin with.

Baseball is a traditionalist sport and if it succumbs to fans’ demands for shorter games, it will lose its status as America’s pastime.

As the great Leo Durocher said “baseball is like church, many attend — few understand.”