From epic marathons to swift showdowns, the world of Major League Baseball (MLB) has seen its fair share of fast-paced and agonizingly slow games throughout history.
With this season’s introduction of a pitch clock, the length of games has been significantly trimmed down to an average of two hours and 39 minutes, which is almost a half-hour reduction compared to the 2022 season.
But which MLB teams have been playing the shortest – and longest – games this year?
To find out, aGamble.com, a legal gambling offers comparison site, took a closer look at the length of MLB games in 2023 across all 30 teams. The analysis determined which teams are playing rapid-fire match ups and which teams are clocking in longer games than the league average.
Ranked: Top 5 Shortest and Longest Games in 2023
According to MLB, the longest game in league history happened on May 8, 1984, when the Chicago White Sox took on the Milwaukee Brewers in a 25-inning game, which lasted eight hours and six minutes. The game was so long, it had to be completed over two days.
Thanks to the addition of the pitching clock, the length of games during the 2023 MLB season has been significantly reduced. In fact, the current league average is two hours and 39 minutes. In 2022, the league average was three hours and seven minutes, or nearly a half hour longer.
This season, no other team has been playing quicker games than the Pittsburgh Pirates. On average, Pirates’ games have lasted two hours and 34 minutes, which is about five minutes shorter than the league average.
The No. 2 spot for teams playing the shortest games this season is a four-way tie between the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers. On average, these teams have been playing games lasting two hours and 35 minutes.
Which MLB Teams Have Been Playing Games Faster in 2023?
Our analysis also examined which teams have shaved the most time off games in the 2023 season compared to 2022.
No other teams in the league have seen a more dramatic reduction in the length of their games than the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies. On average, the White Sox and the Phillies have both reduced their games by nearly 40 minutes this season compared to this time in the season last year.
The New York Mets rank second for the largest time reduction in games. Overall, the Mets have reduced their games by 37 minutes this season compared to last season. The Mets are followed by the Atlanta Braves (35 minutes); Milwaukee Brewers (35 minutes); Washington Nationals (34 minutes); Pittsburgh Pirates (33 minutes); Miami Marlins (32 minutes); Kansas City Royals (31 minutes) and the Texas Rangers (31 minutes).
Despite the new pitching clock and overall faster games this season, 14 MLB teams are playing slower games compared to the league average (two hours and 39 minutes).
Two teams are tied for playing the slowest games this season. On average, it’s taken two hours and 45 minutes for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics to finish their games this year. That’s six minutes longer than the league average and 11 minutes longer than the Pirates, who have been playing the shortest games in 2023.
Fan Feedback: MLB Game Length
Along with crunching the numbers on the length of MLB games, we also asked MLB fans how they feel about the new pitch clock as well as their overall engagement while watching games.
According to respondents, only 41% of fans fall into the "die-hard" category—those who watch every single inning on TV without missing a play. Meanwhile, only 26% of fans say they never get bored while watching an MLB game on TV.
When asked what the MLB should do to make games more exciting to watch, an overwhelming majority (68%) say that commercial breaks should be limited. Respondents also say that mound visits should be limited to an average of 3 per team.
Despite the critical feedback on MLB games, most fans (65%) feel the new pitch clock has helped speed up games.
With shortened games this season, some MLB teams have extended alcohol sales. Historically, teams have used the 7th inning as a cut-off point and most fans (60%) agree that alcohol shouldn’t be sold past the 7th inning. However, some fans (23%) take the liberty of planning ahead and buying more than one beer during the 7th inning.
In order to determine which MLB teams play the shortest and longest games, we analyzed the length of every 2023 regular season MLB game through June 1, 2023, via MLB and Sports Reference data. In order to determine the average reduction in game length, we compared data from every 2023 regular season MLB game through June 1, 2023, and every 2022 regular season MLB game through June 1, 2022.
In May 2023, we surveyed 1,002 Americans who regularly watch MLB to ask them their opinions on the new pitch clock as well as their MLB viewing habits. Among respondents, 72% were male, 27% were female and 1% were non-binary/non-conforming. The average age of respondents was 41 years old.
Sources: Sports Reference, ESPN, MLB
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