Point/Counterpoint: Does baseball have a pace-of-play problem?
Baseball games can take upwards of three hours, but is that too long? Two members of the Daily Iowan Sports staff debate.
April 15, 2019
Each Wednesday, my buddies and I trek to an apartment and play cards. It’s a tradition that’s gone on for most of this current semester.
We’re all pretty good friends, but we’re also all incredibly competitive. Thus, each play and each decision is hyper-calculated. Whenever one of us takes too long on a turn, the rest of us yell, “Rate of play, rate of play.”
Sometimes, I feel the need to yell that at baseball.
We all have problems. So to say that a certain sport is problem-free, well, that’s just not true.
Baseball — America’s so-called pastime — has stood the test of time. It’s changed here and there since its inception, but for the most part, the game itself has remained intact. And you can tell by how fast the game is played.
Compared with the other sports in the “big three” (football and basketball), baseball has an incredibly slower rate of play. Personally, I think the other two sports are much more entertaining because there’s action on every single play.
Yes, there’s action on every pitch in baseball. But it’s not as rapid as the other two sports.
However, I’m in no way saying I don’t find a pitching duel entertaining — I do. But when a game becomes bogged down with play stoppages or long pauses in between pitches, it gets old (this really isn’t a huge issue at the college level, I’d like to add. I find it more common in the pros.)
I know a lot of people don’t want to mess with baseball. I get it.
But when my buddies and I play cards and yell at whoever is taking his sweet time, the person listens, and the pace increases. Baseball might want to listen.
Imagine being at the ballpark on Opening Day. Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium — it doesn’t matter. Wherever you are, baseball and American pride will be in the air.
Now picture yourself grabbing a hot dog, some sunflower seeds, and maybe an adult beverage. You’d be set. You would have no reason to move for the next three hours. It sounds like a dream, really.
That’s why baseball doesn’t have a problem with pace of play.
Everyone might not enjoy sitting there for three hours to watch a game, and that’s OK. But for those who love the atmosphere, going to a game — or even watching one from home — can’t be beat.
Now, it’s understandable to think that baseball has a problem. After all, it goes for three-plus hours, while football and basketball are much shorter.
But not every sport appeals to each person. There are people who simply don’t enjoy baseball, football, and basketball for plenty of different reasons. On the same token, though, there are plenty of other people who love those sports for the exact reason someone else hates them.
Are there ways for baseball to speed up its pace of play? Sure. Is it necessary? Not for those who enjoy the sport and the atmosphere it brings throughout the season.