NEW YORK (AP) — The average time of a nine-inning major league game dropped for the first time since 2018, likely helped by the introduction of the PitchCom electronic device to signal pitches.
The average this season was 3 hours, 3 minutes, 44 seconds, the commissioner's office said Monday. The figure declined from a record 3:10:07 last year and was the lowest since 3:00:44 in 2018.
MLB's average was 2:46 in 2005 and 2:33 in 1981.
PitchCom allows catchers to input signs to a wristband device and pitchers to listen to audio tucked inside their cap. It has helped cut down the number of times pitchers stepped off the rubber to go over hand signals from catchers.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced last month that a pitch clock will be introduced in the major leagues next season, a decision made by the sport’s 11-man competition committee over the unanimous opposition of the panel’s four players.
The clock will be set at 15 seconds with no runners on base and 20 seconds with runners — up from the 14/19 tested at Triple-A this season and 14/18 at lower minor league levels.
Average time of nine-inning minor league games dropped to 2:38 this season from 3:03 in 2021.
There were 216 extra-inning games in the third season of the pandemic rule of placing a runner on second base in each extra frame, down from 233 last year and 78 during the shortened 2020 season. The longest this year was Cleveland's 7-6, 15-inning win over Minnesota in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 17. That was one inning shy of the longest in the three seasons of the rule, the Los Angeles Dodgers' 16-inning win at San Diego on Aug. 25, 2021.
Home teams went 113-103 in extra-inning games this year and are 262-263 in extra innings since the runner on second rule started in 2020, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Home teams were 312-294 in extra-inning games from 2017-19, Elias said.
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