Sports, Technology

Getting Baseball Up to Speed

(C) 2017 Baseball Genesis

By Josh Horwitz SYRACUSE, NY (NCC NEWS)

Baseball is still a big influence on many American lives. The nation’s pastime has been around for the better part of two centuries and there is a reason for that. It’s because Baseball adapts.

These adaptations, usually in the form of technology, have been well-received by both players and fans. However, many people in the baseball world now say that we have reached a level where this technology is hurting the game – in a surprising way..

“Well I think it’s pretty obvious it’s slowing down and a lot of that is probably tied to the analytics that is now available to the general manager and the manager.”

Rick Burton is a professor who teaches courses on Baseball at Syracuse University. And The stats back up his claim. According to Baseball Reference, the main source of data for the history of the game, Baseball games this past season has had an average length of three hours eight minutes, — the longest average of any season in M-L-B history. The time per nine inning game of three hours five minutes is also a new record.

“You just don’t see games that are played under three hours anymore. It just doesn’t happen.”

Joe Rivera is a longtime Baseball writer for the Sporting News, The question then becomes why is baseball slowing down?. Burton and Rivera agree that analytical decisions by managers are partially to blame. These include the number of pitchers used, which in 2017 was the highest of any season in history at 4 and a quarter per game. But Rivera says there is more to it than statistics.

“Mound visits are a big part of it, replay review’s a big part of it, and pitching changes. All those things add up.”

So the problem is apparent, baseball is too slow. For everyone, including fans like Ryan Broderick.

“The games are just too long for people to love and stay interested in. It’s more like the pitchers need to speed up their game. Because it’s always been said that the pitcher runs the game, they go by their speed and their speed is usually not fast.”

Ryan is not alone. According to Alex Putterman of awfulannouncing.com, seventeen of the 29 U-S major league baseball teams saw a drop in viewership this season. Fans tuning out means a loss of revenue for networks, which then hurts Major League Baseball. Everyone involved now wants to speed up the game. But how? Burton and Rivera have similar ideas on where to start.

“Your limiting things like a pitch clock or mound visits, those are probably the most logical. But it’s going to change the way players and managers approach a game.”

“But one of them is a pitch clock. One of them is how often can the batter step out of the box. One of them could be ultimately how many pitchers can you use.”

Ideas like a pitch clock have been tested in the minor leagues, and the tests were deemed a success; games speeded up, noticeably. But players and managers may not be easily swayed. Rick Burton is cautiously optimistic.

If the game continues to get slower and the fans go away and the ratings go down, someone is going to have to find an idea that speeds up the game.”

There will be a brand new baseball season in 2018, but until some sort of reform takes place, baseball fans will continue to wait a long time to see if their team wins the game…a VERY…long…time