How Long Do Baseball Games Last? If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll be aware that professional games last 9 innings and 3 hours on average, while youth baseball leagues last 7 innings and 2 hours on average.
We will talk about how long games last in length and what they consist of. If you’re not just interested in playing ball but also watching it, then this is an article that will surely be interesting to read.
How Long Do Baseball Games Last?
Baseball games vary in their length, depending on the league in which they are played. In general, baseball games last anywhere from nine innings to two hours and 45 minutes.
Professional baseball games typically last around three hours, while college and high school games usually last a little less than two and a half hours. Youth leagues may have shorter game times, as little as one hour and 45 minutes.
Nine inning games typically last around two hours and 15 minutes, while seven inning games can be completed in just over an hour and a half. One of the reasons that baseball games can vary in length is that there are no time limits for how long they can last.
Common Leagues: Innings Duration
- Tee-Ball (ages 4-5) 3-5 1.5 hours
- Minor League (ages 5-11) 6 2 hours
- Major Division (ages 9-12) 6 2 hours
- Intermediate (50/70) (ages 11-13) 7 2 hours
- Junior League (ages 12-14) 7 2 hours
- Senior League (ages 13-16) 7 2 hours
- Babe Ruth (ages 13-15) 7 2 hours
- High School (ages 15-18) 7 2 hours
- College (ages 18 and above) 9 3 hours
- Minor League (ages 18 and above) 9 3 hours
- Major League (ages 18 and above) 9 3 hours
Factors that Influence the Length of a Baseball Game
The Game Play
There are 5 main initial factors that affect the length of a baseball game. The first is the innings played in a specific game, the second is how long each inning lasts, the delays in Action, Duration of at-bats, and Pace of the game.
- Innings Played in a Specific Game – The average time of a nine-inning baseball game is about three hours. However, there are several factors that can affect the duration of a game. One factor is the number of breaks in the action. There are typically six breaks in a nine-inning baseball game: pitching changes, visits to the mound by coaches and managers, innings breaks, commercial breaks, and between-inning activities such as throwing out the first pitch or ceremonial first pitches. The average amount of time between each break is about 17 minutes. So, if there are no delays in the action, a nine-inning game would last just over two hours.
- How long each inning lasts – Will depends on players, especially the pitcher who controls the game play. The pitcher can choose to speed up or slow down the game. Five-inning games tend to be faster than nine-inning games, because there aren’t as many situations in which managers may elect to play for one run or “manufacture” runs (using small ball tactics like bunts and stolen bases).
- Delays in the Action – There are several things that can cause a delay in the action, and thus increase the length of a baseball game. One is when a player gets injured and has to leave the game. This can cause a lengthy delay, as players and coaches often argue about who should take the injured player’s place. Another common delay is when a player disputes a call by the umpire. This can lead to a long argument, and even lead to the player being ejected from the game.
- Duration of at-bats – When a batter takes a long time to hit the ball, it can take more time for other players to get their turn at bat. This can extend the length of the game.
- Pace of the game – If the players on the field are not hustling, it can slow down the game. Conversely, if there is a lot of action on the field, it can speed up the game.
If a game goes into extra innings, that will also add to the length of the game. In general, each inning in extra innings lasts about 10 minutes. So, if a game goes into extras, and there are no delays in the action, it could add an additional hour to the total game time.
Fans often come up with their own unique ways to make baseball games go by more quickly when they get bored during an extremely long extra-inning affair. Some fans use the restroom (or bring beverages) during pitching changes or replay reviews; others decide to leave when it becomes obvious that their team doesn’t stand a chance of winning the game. And some fans just get physical, causing a scene with other fans or going inside the field to confront an opposing player, manager or coach.
- Temperature – If it’s warmer outside, then people tend to sweat more; this can lead them to go in and out of the stadium in order to cool down and buy things like water and ice cream. This causes a disturbance in the game and causes people to leave their seats. Conversely, if it’s colder outside, this can cause sluggishness among players and fans alike, leading them to spend less time outside watching the games.
- Competition – When fans from opposing teams engage in rivalry, they can get quite physical. When a team is about to lose, some people have a blown fuse. They may even cause a ruckus by fighting with other team’s supporters or heading onto the field and approaching players, coaches, or umpires.
- National Attention – Many fans just want to be on national television in order to be seen and attempt to get the attention of the camera man. Making a scene or doing other things merely for the sake of being recognized or attracting the attention of the camera operator.
When it’s colder, the players tend to move around more slowly on the field. This can have a drastic effect on how long a baseball game lasts when plays are being made in the later innings that would typically lead to either an error or a difficult throw for an infielder.
Additionally, if the bases become wet, players and umpires will be more hesitant to yield ground to a runner or close a base on a ball. This causes infielders and outfielders alike to hold onto the ball for an extra moment before throwing it in order to avoid potentially slipping and making errors that could then lead to runs scored.
Non-Game Related Activities
- Playing time of commercials during a broadcast – Television networks will typically have a certain amount of advertising time to sell during their broadcasts. The more commercials that are aired, the less time there is for the game to be played.
- Length of breaks in between innings – Between innings, there are a number of activities that take place, such as players being replaced, groundskeepers tending to the field, and fans getting refreshments. The longer these breaks are, the less time that is available for the game to be played.
- The presence of mascots or cheerleaders can lengthen the game – These entertainers often take extra time to interact with the crowd and perform their routines.
- Umpires taking longer to make calls – The use of instant replay has made it possible for umpires to take a little more time before making a call, as they can review the play footage before making a ruling.
- If an animal (e.g. a deer) wanders onto the field, the umpires may have to stop play, which can cause a lengthy delay. Not only fans sometimes wander into the field but animals as well.
Longest game of baseball in history: The longest game of baseball is 26 innings, or 8 hours and 25 minutes. It was played by the minor league Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings in 1981.
Average length of baseball games: On average, a nine-inning Major League Baseball game lasts just under three hours.
There are also different ways that baseball games can be played:
- Traditional Game – A traditional game is when two teams consisting of nine players take the field against each other in an effort to score more runs than their opponent. The game consists of four innings with each inning being divided into a top and bottom half. The team with the most runs at the end of the last inning is deemed the winner.
- Race Game – A race game is when one team has a lead over the other and runs back and forth between the two bases while the other team tries to catch up. The game ends when the leading team reaches their target number of runs.
- Rained Out – A game is rained out if it is stopped because of rain before either team can accumulate three outs. During a rain out, the game is considered to be suspended and will be continued at a later date. If the game is not resumed, it is considered to have been canceled.
- Forfeit – A forfeit occurs when one team decides to stop playing the game for any reason. This can be done by the team ahead in the game or behind in the game. If the team behind in the game forfeits, the game is considered to be over and the team ahead is declared the winner.
- No Game – A no game occurs when both teams fail to show up for the game or when one team decides to cancel the game. If both teams fail to show up, the game is canceled and neither team is declared the winner. If one team fails to show up, the other team is considered to be the winner and the game score is recorded as 9-0.
- Tripleheader – A tripleheader occurs when three consecutive games are played with each team playing in every game. This usually happens when a series of games must be completed quickly or when a field is booked for consecutive days and the teams cannot play each other three times in one day.
- Extra-inning Game – An extra inning game occurs when both teams continue to score runs and thus require more than nine innings to determine a winner. Extra innings can occur even if the game is suspended after at least four complete innings have been played.
- Shutout – A shutout is when one team does not allow the other team to score any runs during the game. This can be done by either pitching a complete game or by the defense shutting down the other team’s offense.
- No-hitter – A no-hitter is when one team does not allow the other team to get a hit during the game. This can be done by pitching three consecutive complete games or by pitching nine innings without allowing any hits.
- Perfect Game – A perfect game is when one team does not allow the other team to get on base at all during the game. This can only occur if no players reach base via walk, error, or hit by pitch, or if all players who reach base are immediately picked off. This has only occurred 20 times in Major League Baseball history.
- Grand Slam Single – A grand slam single is when a batter hits a home run while his team is at bat with the bases loaded. This results in four runs being scored and the batter scoring himself. This has only occurred 10 times in Major League Baseball history.
Duration of One Inning?
The duration of an inning in baseball can vary depending on the league. In professional leagues, an inning is usually 9 pitches or 3 outs. However, in amateur leagues and Little League Baseball, innings can be shorter with 5 or 6 pitches being the norm.
On average, one inning lasts 20 minutes. The average professional baseball game lasts three hours and ten minutes. Divided out, each inning represents roughly 20 minutes.
In short, there are several factors that can affect how long a baseball game lasts. The number of innings played, the length of each inning, and any delays in the action can all contribute to the overall length of the game.
Additionally, if a game goes into extra innings, that will also add time to the game. In general, the average professional baseball game lasts around three hours and ten minutes. This is usually divided into nine innings with each inning lasting an average of 20 minutes.