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Baseball is here…let the wait begin!

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Blowing Bubbles

Baseball season is here. The Bisons start their season today in Norfolk, Virginia, with the first in a four-game series against the Tides. The long wait is finally over…or is it?

It seems to me that baseball is almost entirely about waiting, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Back in 2000, ex-Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly watched an A’s-Yankees playoff game that lasted three hours and 15 minutes. In total, aside from 66 close-ups of then-Yankees manager Joe Torre, Reilly witnessed a grand total of 12 minutes and 22 seconds of action (while being “generous” with the stopwatch).

Reilly’s idea of timing a game wasn’t a new one. He was repeating an experiment first performed by Kansas City Star reporter Dick Wade, who timed the action in a June, 1956 game between the KC Athletics and Washington Senators. Using a stopwatch, he concluded that there were only nine minutes and 55 seconds of action throughout the eight-and-a-half inning game.

And on top of it all, the game is slowing down, thanks to the headache of more frequent television commercial breaks. During the 2000 playoffs, the Mets took a record 3:59 to beat the Cardinals. Afterward, when Mets manager Bobby Valentine was asked about his reaction to St. Louis pitcher Rick Ankiel’s wild pitching in the first inning, he replied, in all seriousness, ”Tell you the truth, that was a long time ago. I don’t really remember the reaction in the first inning.”

Thankfully, though, the minor league games still wrap up more quickly than their MLB cousins. That’s one reason, at least, to be glad that the Herd is in the minors.

However you look at it, you have to agree that baseball, “America’s favorite pastime,” couldn’t have been given a more apt nickname.


  • Kent

    Ahh the irony – think of the performance enhancing drugs scandal that’s gone on in MLB, and think, they go through all that legal risk (and potential physical risk) for 9 minutes of action per game!?

    I wonder… has there been a similar “stop watch” experiment for football?

    I would probably guess there’s more than 9 minutes of action – but maybe not much more. A whole lot of that clock does get run off with nothing happening (unless you consider guys huddling and then lining up “action”!)

    Of course, there’s 10 times as many games in a baseball season than a football season. If you added it all up, the sad truth is despite that laughable 9-minute figure, there’s still probably more “action” time in a baseball season than a football season!

    Oh well, I guess having choices is what its all about, so I’ll stick to being a hockey fan!