The DMV is an absolute snooze fest. You begin by waiting in a line that is somehow 80 people deep fifteen minutes before the Registry even opens. If one dares to venture there on a Friday, you’re surely greeted by an unenthusiastic front desk employee, who’s counting the minutes left of a tedious, monotonous 40 hour work week. Take a number, have a seat, watch for your number to be called. Repeat.
Is baseball anything close to a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles? For a true fan, absolutely not; but there’s one similarity the two entities share: they’re guaranteed to remove three hours of your precious life that you’ll never get back. And despite the length of time –an average of three hours and twenty minutes per game– that Red Sox fans spent partaking in the glory of victory or spoils of defeat in 2017, baseball has once again chosen to bypass a pitch clock, or any other radical changes to improve the speed of the game, which would ultimately improve the quality of the game.
And at the end of the day, who’s suffering? The fans. The loyal fans who spend $20 to park a mile from the Fens, $40 on food, $60 on beer (some of us), and an unholy amount for tickets, whether they place us in the way off distance of the right field bleachers, or high atop the 37 foot Green Monster. Watching the game from home, in an effort to save money? Good luck. Good luck avoiding any and all distractions whether it be changing a diaper, preparing dinner, working remotely, pandering social media, finishing up homework assignments, or entertaining friends. In these cases, all too often the game becomes background noise, and suddenly it’s 11:00 at night, and three hours into a Sunday Night Baseball telecast it’s somehow still the 7th inning of a 2-1 Sox-Yanks four hour barnburner.
Does this take away from the love of the game? Not necessarily. But over the course of 162+ tilts, spread across eight months if you’re one of the eight to advance past the wild card round, it’s hard to relive the glory of America’s Pastime night after night. And with today’s era of technology and modern advancements, skipping a game or two (or 30-40) becomes easier by the season; a fan can watch a condensed game on MLB.tv in 20 minutes. Or they can tune in to Sox in 2 on NESN to catch the game in a brisk two hour fashion. Or maybe, just cycle through Twitter’s newsfeed and the videos on one of your phone’s apps to watch the highlights and post game reactions that are worthy of a look.
The bottom line is the modern era is evolving, technology is evolving, yet the sport we all love refuses to evolve with it, even after 130 seasons. Sure, ideas have been thrown out there: start extra innings with a runner at second, or an eye rolling proposal to allow your team’s best three hitters to take the plate in the 9th (reported by Rich Eisen), but baseball does nothing. Nothing, except for allowing an intentional walk to be issued without a ball being thrown; thanks for the nine seconds of my life back, commissioner.
In late September of 1919, the Giants and Phillies squared off. The result was a 6-1 victory in favor of the Giants. Length of game? 51 minutes. And 98 years later, here we are watching the average time of a match rise to three hours and five minutes, a four and a half minute increase from 2016. While society and technology continue to advance, Major League Baseball remains stagnant in its push for a quicker game.
So just like your last trip to the DMV, shove your ticket in your pocket, sit down, and prepare yourself. It’s going to be a long one.