Should MLB shorten baseball games to 7 innings? | The Tylt
Major League Baseball has a problem—the games are too long. It's not uncommon for playoff games to exceed four hours. MLB is trying to address game length by tweaking the intentional walk rule and enforcing more pace of play rules. But exhausted fans want MLB to think bigger. Some baseball radicals have floated around the idea of chopping off two innings from the traditional game, a dramatic change to the format. Purists think merely advocating for a 7-inning game is heresy. What do you think? ⚾
Should MLB shorten baseball games to 7 innings?
Baseball executives have been batting around the 7-inning game idea for years. But it's a terrible idea and one that punishes purists who believe the dramatic, drawn-out pace of play is what makes baseball so great. People go to the ballgame to see 9 innings, not to watch a speed round of baseball. And you can bet owners aren't going to lower the price on tickets, despite fans paying for less baseball.
Plenty of baseball fans — this one included — don’t find any particular problem with the length of contests, since baseball games should be savored. But even if it’s a real concern for the league moving forward, there are so many ways games can be shortened without being fundamentally changed.
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is just the latest MLB official to float the idea. Executives are anxious to reduce the length of games and speed up play, to attract new audiences. The median age of your average baseball fan is 53-years-old. So officials know they need to get younger... but at what cost? Think about how many players would be impacted. Fewer innings means fewer at-bats, fewer pitches. Numbers would drop for offensive players, numbers those players rely on to get paid. It could wreak havoc with the entire market.
The results would likely be drastic. From less at-bats (counting stats for hitters, changing career numbers) to scoring (22 percent of the game would be gone) to the rise of the ace (guys like Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and Max Scherzer could routinely pitch complete games), baseball would be totally different.
But making games shorter has real benefits for players and fans. Shorter games could dramatically cut down on injuries and healthier teams mean happier fans. It could make going to a night game not seem like such an investment and reinvigorate ticket sales for regular season games. 7-inning games could be exactly the shot in the arm that baseball needs right now. Sign us up!
My advice is to shorten the game. No, I mean, really shorten the game. Reduce it to seven innings from nine.
Beyond the time saved, think of the benefits in eliminating two innings. Starting pitchers would throw far fewer pitches, needing to only go four innings to record a victory. The scourge of serious arm and shoulder injuries would very likely diminish. Not having to rely on middle-inning mediocrity before getting to the late-inning studs would also quicken the pace of games. Many games might take between two and two and a half hours, or the time it takes to play most soccer and basketball games. Games starting at 7 in the evening would be over by 9:30, making it easier for fans on work and school nights.
Here are some perspectives from baseball fans.
Karl Ravech, who makes a living talking about baseball, wants less baseball -- 7 inning games. That makes perfect sense.— stlCupofJoe (@stlCupofJoe) February 10, 2017
Baseball purists worrying about instant replay and adderall changing record books. But yet they want 7 inning games now?— Joe B (@joebuff427) February 10, 2017
This is sacrilegious and the hottest of takes, but 7-inning baseball games would be amazing. Go ahead and @ me.— Half St Heart Blog (@HalfStreetHeart) February 8, 2017
7 inning games what a colossally stupid idea. Baseball does need to speed up but that's drastic. like killing a roach with a cannon drastic— James (@Jamesh17) February 8, 2017