By Matthew Cunha
4 hours and 24 minutes, 4 hours and 16 minutes, 4 hours and 6 minutes. Those are the duration’s of the Red Sox’s games on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Painfully slow games that even the biggest baseball fan in the world would not be able to bear. After a month without cable, I sat down on Tuesday night excited to watch the Red Sox. Even with a walk off win, I was disappointed.
Time is the most valuable commodity. In no case, is spending 4 hours on an event that happens 161 other times this year something I want or should do. Thankfully for the MLB, it has the advantage of a summer sport monopoly. The product I saw on Tuesday was agonizing. Major league baseball needs to correct the pace of game problems that are creating these nightly marathons but shows no early indication of doing so.
The monopolistic endeavor of Major League Baseball means that the rush for improvement isn’t there. With no competition, baseball ratings remain relatively stable for the time being. When the hardcore old school baseball fan is gone, baseball may be a game of the past if something doesn’t change. The 30 and 20 somethings are known for having shorter attention spans and the need for instant entertainment. Slowly paced 3 and half hour baseball games don’t match that need too well.
The length of game of problem is just one of the problems in the MLB, but the pace of play may take away the most from the product. Mound visits are unnecessary halts in action were a few people talk and everyone else (fans, viewers, other players) sit around and waste 30 to 45 seconds of their lives. Meaningless replays were we watch over and over again to decipher if the tag was made or not, more wasted time. The 30 second minimum between David Price’s pitches, yup even more wasted time.
Baseball also has a lack of entertainment. Not one single MLB player was listed on ESPN’s top 100 fame list. Not one. They don’t have their LeBron James or their Tom Brady, or their Cristiano Ronaldo’s. There’s no stories to follow or athletes who go out there and make for must see viewing. The Bryce Harper fight and the Baltimore vs Red Sox rivalry are examples of events that baseball needs. They give fans a reason to watch the games. People knew the Warriors would win the NBA title this year, but the compelling story led people to watch.
I need to be able to sit down a watch a whole baseball game during the summer to get my sports fix. The baseball product right now makes it challenging to do so. MLB needs to do anything to shorten the games, pick up the pace, and add entertainment. Banning mound visits entirely; sign me up. Heck, I am not even all that opposed to the idea of adding ties. Anything MLB. I can’t and won’t waste my summer watching baseball for 3 and half to 4 hours a night. I just can’t do it.
Matthew Cunha is a producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.