How Long Are Baseball Games?

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Baseball is a beloved sport in the USA and is gaining popularity worldwide. With an average of 20,000 fans packing stadiums, it has made its mark in the sporting industry.

The action-packed gameplay elicits deep emotions in fans, but understanding the rules is essential to fully appreciate the game. One common question is: how long does a baseball game last? Let me shed some light on the subject.

The End Goal of a Baseball game

The main objective is to score as many runs/points in each inning as possible.

What is an inning?

An inning is divided into two teams attacking and defending.

The attacking team’s (batting) goal is to launch the ball with the goal in mind of getting it as far as possible so they can complete a run. The Defending team’s (fielding) goal is to make the attacking team miss their swings and minimize the number of runs they can get.

How many innings in a baseball game?

The average amount of innings usually goes to the end of the 9th inning.

Although games are known to go for longer or shorter, if a team is leading with a significant amount of runs by the 6th inning, the game will end, or if the amount of runs is similar by the 9th inning, the game will go on with extra innings until a teams beats the other.

How long does a Baseball inning go on?

Innings do not have a time limit; it ends depending on what team scores three outs.

Although, statistically speaking, an inning usually takes between 15-30 minutes.

Why do Baseball games go on for so long?

Comparatively, the time to complete a Baseball game may seem odd in mainstream sports like soccer, basketball, and boxing. However, other factors contribute immensely to the length of the game, to name a few.

Nature of The Game of Baseball

Baseball composes of two teams that have a total of nine players each; on the surface, the game seems as simple as a bat to ball. However, the game runs more profound than that.

There is no clock in Baseball innings to regulate the game. 9 innings at 20 minutes each is 3 hours alone, excluding all the other factors that affect the time of the game.

Longer Innings

Innings, as mentioned before, on average last between 20-30 minutes; however, theoretically, an inning could last much longer than that if 3 outs aren’t achieved.

So on many occasions, innings take 30 minutes+. The longest recorded inning in the MLB was 68 minutes.

Team arguments

Believe it or not, even at the top level of the sport, arguments are common between opposing teams and amongst the umpires.

Higher quality teams

The higher quality of the teams playing tends to have longer durations because getting 3 outs on the opposing team is more challenging, therefore taking longer.

Rules to speed up the game

The time needed to conclude a winner in Baseball has always been disputed for being too long by some fans and spectators.

This has led to the implementation of some new rules in an attempt to decrease the time needed.

Specifically, in the MLB (Major league baseball), these rules are:

  • No fighting or antagonizing opposition, the MLB has issued statements such as “Arguments with managers and umpires will not be tolerated,” resulting in ejection from the game along with fines and suspensions.
  • Extra inning = Extra runners; Start of every half-inning after the ninth, an extra runner will be placed at second base.
  • Seven-inning games instead of nine for doubleheader matches will reduce innings, pitches, and time required to finish each game.

Baseball Game Duration FAQ

A standard game consists of 9 innings. However, a doubleheader consists of two consecutive seven-inning games played on the same day. Despite being shorter, they count as an official game. Doubleheaders are often scheduled as a result of canceled and rescheduled games or bad weather.

Most recent statistics suggest it takes on average 3 hours and 10 minutes to finish a baseball game.

Collegiate Baseball Game

Collegiate games last for nine innings. Games of a doubleheader can be played for seven innings given certain external factors.

A rule takes effect in which the game is concluded if a team is up by 10 runs or more after seven innings.

High School Baseball Game

High school baseball games last seven innings. Under certain external factors like weather, a game can be played in four innings. If a team is up by 10 after four innings, the same rule goes into effect. Some high school fields don’t have lights, so the timings of games can be an issue.

Youth Baseball Game

The duration of youth baseball games depends on the age of the players.

  • Tee-Ball (ages 4-7) is played for five innings, yet it can vary from league to league.
  • Little League (ages 7-13) games have six innings.
  • Babe Ruth League (ages 13-18) games have seven innings.

The longest baseball match between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984 lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes (25 innings).

This game still holds the record for the longest ever baseball match.

The Final Inning

Baseball, often referred to as a “National pastime,” is loved for that reason. It’s a wonderful game to watch and keep up with. The long game times may be disputed, but it’s also why some fans love the sport, passing the time with family or friends watching baseball.

Hopefully, we have sparked an interest in the sport for you!

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Michael Specter
Michael Specter
Mike holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Minnesota and has held managerial and baseball head coaching roles at the college level.